Led by an insane jump from 2021 world silver medalist Chris Lillis, the U.S. on Thursday defeated overwhelming favorite China and claimed mixed team aerials gold in the event’s Olympic debut at the 2022 Winter Games.
Lillis performed a back double full-full-double full – five twists and three flips – to record a 135.00 in Final 2, the biggest score of the night, while China’s Jia Zongyang punched a frontflip landing on his attempt, ultimately spoiling China’s anticipated title in the event.
The U.S. advanced out of Final 1 on 2017 world champion Ashley Caldwell‘s back full-full-full, and her boyfriend Justin Schoenefeld‘s back double full-full-full, two jumps that received scores of 104.31 and 124.43, respectively.
Lillis then carried the team in Final 2 with his massive score. With the U.S. leading entering the final jump, needing a score of 136.29, China’s Qi Guangpu stuck a back double full-full-full that came up short in 122.17.
Lillis, Caldwell and Schoenefeld together tallied 338.34, just ahead of China’s 324.22. Canada took bronze with 290.98. Lillis and Schoenefeld lost to Qi and Xu Mengtao at a Dec. 13 World Cup in Ruka, Finland, taking silver.
SEE MORE: Mixed Team Aerials