After the fall training camp there was a lot of talk about how deep the American men's moguls team is. There was proof of that this weekend as defending gold medalist Jonny Moseley won Friday's competition and Evan Dybvig finished third Saturday in back-to-back World Cups in St. Lary, France.
It was the first time on the podium for both men, and it makes trying to guess who will make the U.S. Freestyle Olympic team even more complicated.
"There are five guys with top-3s and I'm the fifth one," Dybvig said after Saturday's races. "I'm psyched, but I'm also subdued. I guess I'm happy, but kind of tentatively happy."
Dybvig ? who has been competing with a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee since November ? finished third Saturday behind two of the fastest moguls skiers, Finland's Sami Mustonen, who won, and Janne Lahtela. Colorado's Jeremy Bloom finished fourth, which is his third top-5 finish of the season.
In the women's races, Kari Traa of Norway won both competitions Friday and Saturday. She has won four of five World Cups this season, with her only loss last week in Germany to the U.S. Ski Team's Shannon Bahrke, who won the Gold Cup Dec. 31. Bahrke finished second on Saturday and fourth on Friday. Teammate Hannah Hardaway finished third Saturday.
Traa set a record for the highest women's score in moguls with a 27.65. Defending Olympic gold medalists Japan's Tae Satoya finished fourth Saturday, just ahead of Colorado's Ann Battelle.
Bloom's finish, while it wasn't a podium, gives him more points than any other man on the World Cup circuit. He's just four points ahead of Canada's Stephane Rochon, and eight points of Lahtela of Finland. The second highest American man is Moseley, who's currently 11th overall.
Moseley performed standard tricks on Friday when he won, but returned to his vow to do something unusual with his self-named "dinner roll." He did the trick during the Gold Cup and while the crowd loved it, the judges were lukewarm. He received good scores for it in France, but he didn't perform a good enough trick on the top jump to repeat his trip to the podium. He ended up 27th Saturday.
In aerials, the athletes competed in their second World Cup this season in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, on Saturday. American and defending Olympic gold medalist Eric Bergoust shook off a week-long cold to win the competition.
"It was a great day," said U.S. aerials coach Matt Christensen. "The quality of the jumping was way above normal."
Bergoust wasn't alone in the finals, as Joe Pack finished fifth, Jerry Grossi finished eighth, Mariano Ferrario was ninth and Brian Currutt was 10th.
"We were the only nation to have that many men in the finals," Christensen said. "I'm psyched. I was a little nervous at first, but our men were great. Everyone is training so hard, and all of the federations are pumping tons of money into (the teams and athletes) because (the sport) is so popular. But we're all doing the same degree of difficulty."
The women didn't fare as well, but Emily Cook, the reigning U.S. Champion, finished sixth after performing a simpler trick due to an injury in the fall to one of her knees. Christensen said she would likely work her way back up to triples by the World Cup next weekend in Lake Placid, New York.
Cook's teammate, Brenda Petzold, finished 10th, and Australia's Jacqui Cooper continued her dominance with a win by performing a triple. She won the only other aerials World Cup this season held in September in Australia. She is the top-ranked female aerialist in the world.
The athletes will compete in another event today, and then head to New York for the final World Cup before the Olympic freestyle team is named on Jan. 22.