You have to watch the other guys and see what they do. I watched everyone put really good jumps down, so I knew I had to do the same thing. It worked out for me tonight. —Dylan Ferguson
PARK CITY — Huge air, lots of laughs, an American on the podium and a sweet victory dance.
The World Cup competition meant to honor Jeret "Speedy" Peterson's life would was just the kind of party the three-time Olympian would have relished.
"This one's for Speedy," said Dylan Ferguson, who earned his first podium in 30 World Cup competitions wearing a helmet that bore the name of his teammate who won a silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics, but tragically committed suicide last summer after struggling with depression for most of his adult life. "This is how he would have wanted it."
Ferguson earned a silver medal with a score in the Super Final of 118.86. He thrilled the crowd and sent out love to Speedy after his jaw-dropping second jump, which earned him a 126.7, and first-place heading into the final four round.
The World Cup gold was won by the Chinese team in both men's and women's aerials. Zongyang Jia won the men's competition with 128.86, while his female teammates swept the women's event. Mengtao Xu won the women's event with 95.88, Shuang Cheng was second with 92.35 points and Fanyu Kong was third with 76.56 points. Canada's Olivier Rochon was third in men's with 111.78 points.
The three round format is new for aerialists this season, but was met with rave reviews from athletes and fans.
"It's really strategy," Ferguson said of having to compete with three different jumps when last year athletes only had to jump twice. "You have to watch the other guys and see what they do. I watched everyone put really good jumps down, so I knew I had to do the same thing. It worked out for me tonight."
He was thrilled to be able to do it for Speedy in his adopted hometown — Park City.
"It's awesome that they did the dedication to Speedy," said Ferguson, who thrilled the crowd after landing his second jump when he kicked off his skis and began dancing. "He meant a lot to me and to the rest of my team. I think that his passion lives on through this sport, through every one of us aerialist out there, and it's so cool to see everyone having a good time. That's what Speedy would want."
Ferguson said he'd felt good all week in training.
"This is my town," he said waving his hand at the valley. "I've been doing alright this year; I've been in the top ten a couple of times and my coach said, 'This is Deer Valley; this is the one; this is your spot.' And I earned it I think, so I'm stoked."
Todd Schirman, director of the U.S. Freestyle Program, was thrilled with the way his young team jumped.
"To have his career best finish here at Deer Valley is just as special as it could be," said Schirman. "There was something special in the air tonight."