10Aug09 Calgary World Championships Finish With Outstanding Performances And Hot Sunshine

The entire week here in Calgary created daily surprises. Sunday was no exception. In fact, it produced many very special moments for our athletes. The last day?s schedule included Men?s Tricks, Ladies Slalom and Men?s Jump. For the spectators the 26C sunshine and a very light breeze made it a perfect day for enjoying the spectacle on the water.

The 12 Finalists in Men?s Tricks produced nine scores in excess of 10,000 points. Seeing a father versus son on the dock also made this a unique occasion. Chasing the Overall title, Argentina?s 31 year old Javier Julio set the standard right from the start with a 10,330 score. He has had an outstanding season so far. The 19 year old French athlete, Pierre Ballon, then pushed the leading score up to 11,030. What followed was for the history books. Cory Pickos USA set his first World Tricks record in 1977 ? 32 years ago ? with a score of 6860 points. This time around, he scored 9630 points. Not enough to win but nevertheless remarkable. Next on the dock was his 17 year old son Adam who won the gold Tricks Medal in 2008 in the U21 World Championships. His score here in Calgary was 10,180. Another remarkable achievement. From this point on, the country of Belarus took over the World Championships ! Oleg Deviatovski, who captured the silver medal at the US Masters last May, raised the bar to 11,220. Aliaksei Zharnasek then almost got into World Record territory with a spectacular score of 11,850. Next, 20 year old Herman Beliakou, fresh from his World Cup victory in Dubna Russia, posted a score of 11,490. Nobody could beat this outstanding trio from Belarus. It was a clean sweep with Zharnasek, Beliakou and Deviatovski taking gold, silver and bronze. In his own personal battle in the Overall challenge, Canada?s Jaret Llewellyn had to settle for 10,400 points. Javier Julio?s contention continued to be strong.

Women?s Slalom kicked off after lunch. Of the 12 Finalists, 4 scored on the 10.75m line and all the others were stuck on the 11.25m line. It was unusual to see the past US Masters Slalom Champion Karen Truelove USA first off the dock. In setting a score of 0.5 buoys on the 10.75m line, she immediately put enormous pressure on the next 11 skiers. In fact, coming eighth off the dock, Karina Nowlan AUS, was the first to equal this. In spite of a dislocated collar bone, Anais Amade FRA somehow then raised the barrier to 1.25 buoys on the 10.75m line with just two skiers to go. Canada?s Beanne Wagner got a rousing welcome but went down on the 11.25m line. That left Canada?s Overall contender and Saturday?s Tricks gold medalist, 19 year old Whitney McClintock, within touching distance of another gold medal. In spite of her young years, she showed a rare maturity in scoring 1.5 buoys on the 10.75m line to capture that second gold medal. Now her Overall title was also secured giving her an extraordinary medals achievement - ahead of Clementine Lucine FRA and Marion Mathieu FRA.

At shortly after 15.00hrs, Men?s Jump began before a capacity crowd of spectators. The Bleachers were full ! The last three skiers all shared the podium at the World Cup Stop in Dubna Russia just a few weeks ago. That guaranteed a thrilling finish. Almost all posted significant improvements over their Preliminary Round scores, having adjusted well to the unusual site conditions. Thomas Asher GBR was second off the dock and once his score of 64.7m was flashed on the SplashEye scoreboard, all knew that big distances were possible. The European Jump and Overall Champion, Jason Seels GBR, then proved this with a possible winner of 67.5m. To a big roar from the crowd, the gold medalist at the 2009 World Cup title in Russia, Canada?s Ryan Dodd, then took the lead with 68.1m. The drama at this stage was obvious to all. World Record holder Freddy Krueger USA versus Canada?s waterski legend Jaret Llewellyn. What a prospect ! Llewellyn was still keeping an eye on the coveted World Overall title. In spite of a horrendous crash in Russia two weeks ago, he was back on the water carrying the hopes of Canada on his shoulders. The media coverage of this holder of 11 World records has been extraordinary. Now it was all down to the closing moments of the 2009 Waterski World Championships here in his country of birth. Krueger was first on the water. His jump set was very impressive ? 69.1m, 64.2m and a huge 70.2m. Could Llewellyn do it ? It seemed the whole of Canada was watching. His first distance of 68.0m had the fans roaring approval. His second of 68.5m raised the hopes even further. When his final distance of 62.1m flashed on the scoreboard, the fairy tale ending was gone. The gold medal and title of World Jump Champion went to the superb World Record holder, Freddy Krueger USA ? followed by Llewellyn and Dodd. The elusive Overall title was also just out of reach from the extraordinary talent of Jaret Llewellyn. In that battle, gold medalist Javier Julio ARG had his lifetime dream come true, with Adam Sedlmajer CZE in second place and Jaret Llewellyn taking the bronze. This was a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling week in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

As the final scores were counted and the gala banquet allowed all an opportunity to relax once again, the Overall Team tally was declared with Canada taking first place, USA second and France third. This was truly a first class display of Canada?s talent on many fronts. Congratulations to all.