Teen aerialist upbeat despite final blunder

08:45, February 26, 2010      

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Although she finished only sixth at the Vancouver Games, young Chinese aerial skier Xu Mengtao had plenty to be proud of after performing jumps of the highest degree of difficulty in the world.

The 19-year-old led the finals after a perfect first jump but a stumble while landing the second cost her gold.

However, the experiences drawn from her first Winter Olympics have Xu dreaming of glory in four years' time.

"I'm the first one in a women's competition to use a combination of such difficult jumps. I need to practise that second jump more but I will be better in four years' time," Xu said.

Last December, Xu was the first female jumper to land a "lay double-full full" - three flips and three spins - in a competition but at the Olympic finals on Wednesday she failed to nail it.

"I lost speed in the air, so I didn't land it well," Xu said. "But I'm still satisfied with my performance. I believe at the Sochi Winter Games (in 2014) our Chinese team will realize the gold medal dream. I believe in the team and I believe in myself."

Veterans Li Nina and Guo Xinxin bagged the silver and bronze medals while another Chinese skier, Cheng Shuang, finished seventh.

The team's strength has improved markedly over the past four years. At the 2006 Games in Turin, Li settled for silver and Guo finished sixth.

Xu's coaches and teammates are also optimistic about the youngster's future.

"Xu is a very talented athlete and she will be able to manage the difficult jumps very soon. She will be at her strongest in four years' time," said Li.

The team's coach agreed.

"Xu had the highest degree difficulty that any women jumper has ever attempted," said China's Canadian coach, Dustin Wilson. "She's only 19. She's going to be untouchable four years from now."

Source:China Daily
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