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Lillis, Caldwell give US aerials double at freestyle world championships

Lillis, Caldwell give US aerials double

SIERRA NEVADA, Spain — American Jonathon Lillis denied Guangpu Qi of China a third world title by winning gold in the men's aerials event Friday at the FIS Freestyle World Championships.

Lillis scored 125.79 for his back triple-spin in the final to finish ahead of Qi (120.36), who won the 2013 and 2015 World Championships.

Australian David Morris, a silver medallist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, took the bronze medal with a score of 114.93.

Olivier Rochon of Gatineau, Que., finished sixth. He settled for 85.52 points after landing hard on his double twist at the end of his jump.

Still, it was Rochon's best result of the season and he took positives from making it into the super final.

"Maybe I could have jumped a bit better, but that was my first super final of the year and I'm really happy with it," he said.

Travis Gerrits of Milton, Ont., didn't qualify for the final and finished 19th.

Ashley Caldwell won gold in the women's competition with 109.29 points, finishing ahead of Australian Danielle Scott (94.47) and favourite Mengtao Xu of China (91.65).

Montreal's Catrine Lavallee dominated the qualifying session but stalled in the semifinals, missing the final by less than three points and finishing seventh.

Lavallee, too, took positives out of her first world championships, including a personal best score of 85.05 points in qualifying.

"Finishing seventh is like a dream come true for me," she said. "I'm super excited right now."

Australian Laura Peel, the defending world champion, missed her landing in the semifinals and had to settle for eighth place.

The Canadian Press

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