PARK CITY Emily Cook was among those favored to win a freestyle skiing medal in the 2002 Olympics. A serious accident weeks before the Games, however, kept her grounded for several years.
She returned to the aerial hill at the Utah Olympic Park on Thursday to support the fact that she is, once again, one of the world's best freestyle aerialists by winning the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championship title.
Cook, who lists her hometown as Belmont, Mass., but actually lives and trains in Park City, scored 175.53 points to completely outdistance runner-up Allison Treleaven of Ft. Wayne, Ind., with a 151.10. This was Cook's third U.S. title.
Ryan St. Onge, another of those who lists his home as Winter Park, Colo., but actually lives and trains in Park City, won the men's title. Scotty Bahrke, a confirmed Park City resident, was second. Onge scored a 196.51 to 194.22 for Bahrke.
In third for the women was Jana Lindsey of Black Hawk, S.D., and third for the men was Matthew Depeters of Hamburg, N.Y. Karen Kiczek of Park City as fifth.
Onge had to come from behind in his second jump to beat Bahrke.
Cook has been recognized recently for building her reservoir of tricks, many showing a greater degree of difficulty. Cook listed among her jumps a full-full, which is two flips with two twists, and a full-double full, which is two flips with three twists.
She came into the Park City event after having won her first World Cup event in Russia.
Upon her return she said, "I have had such a warm response here in Park City to my Moscow win. I had no idea that so many people actually pay attention.
"It was such a nice acknowledgment, and it makes me feel great that it made so many people happy. It's fun to share such a great experience with so many people and to let them know that their support helped me get there."
Back in early February, at the World Cup freestyle event at Deer Valley, Cook finished highest among the U.S. women, coming in fourth place with a score of 171.53. Nina Li, China, finished first with a score of 199.16; Jacqui Cooper, Australia, was second with 194.87 points; and Shuang Cheng, China, was third with 188.75 points
The U.S. Halfpipe Championships will be held today at Park City Mountain Resort. The finals will begin at noon.The event will finish with the mogul competition at Deer Valley on Saturday and Sunday.