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read on from the Park Record in Park City.
By Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

It was a patriotic kind of day as crowds gathered on the mountain at Deer Valley for the FIS Freestyle World Cup mogul competition on Thursday afternoon. The United Sates swept the international competition claiming five of the six possible podium medals. The American women took first and third and the men swept the top three sports for the third time this season. (From left to right): First-place winner Jeremy Bloom, Park Citys own Nate Nate Dog Roberts with second place and third-place Toby Awesome Dawson raise their skis in victory following an American sweep of the mens moguls finals at the 2005 Chevrolet Freestyle International World Cup.

Following an hour-long delay due to poor visibility on the moguls hill, the women's finals got underway on Thursday afternoon. Although the field of 16 women was minus American standout Shannon Bahrke, who is out for the season due to injury, the American women came out ready to challenge the world's best. The group included Park City's own Jillian Vogtli who had the last run of the day. Although a fall in the turns kept Vogtli from making the podium, her countrywomen Hannah Kearney (Norwich, Vt.), who finished third with a score of 25.04 and Michelle Roark (Denver, Colo.), who finished first with 25.34, filled in the gaps. Margarita Marbler of Austria took second place scoring a 25.30.

Roark led the competition away with a back flip on the first jump and a bronco (a 180-degree rotation with a spread eagle performed while the skier faces up hill, followed by another 180-degree rotation to land) on the second jump. Her strong showing made even more impressive by the fact that she was blew out her knee on the same course in 2000.

"It's the course that took me out for three years, so it was good to stomp a good run up here," said Roark.

According to U.S. head coach Don St. Pierre, Roark had trouble with her top jump in training before the competition, making her win that much more impressive.

"She showed a lot of heart. We're moving in a positive direction," said St. Pierre.

Thursday's finals also highlighted exceptional mogul skiing. The Deer Valley course is known for being a pure moguls run that works in favor of the most talented skiers.

"The course is difficult, because the snow is so tight. It was nice, because its real moguls. The real moguls skiers shined today," said Kearney.

The sport also seems to be getting better and better on the talent-deep men's team. The top qualifiers in the competition, Toby "Awesome" Dawson (Vail, Colo.), skiing with a broken foot, former Colorado football star/mogul master Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, Colo.) and Park City's' very own product, Nate Roberts, took the last three runs and the top three finishes. Dawson finished with a score of 25.79. Roberts a former aerialist. wowed the home crowd with amazing jumps, including the "Nate Dog" back flip that earned him a 26.18 along with cheers and banners declaring "Go Nate!" Bloom took No. 1 with a final score of 27.05, after throwing a 720 iron cross (720-degree or double revolution of the body with skis crossing in an x-formation) on the top jump followed by a d-spin (off-axis, double revolution) on the second jump.

"This is the third time I've been part of a sweep and the first time I've been able to win," said Bloom. "It's very exciting for us, especially being in our own country. It's really an advantage to us, because when we train in the summer and fall we know what the world's best are doing day in and day out. So it's fun to have them pushing me and me pushing them and hopefully we can duplicate this in February of 2006."

Dawson agrees.

"It's the best when we can come down and pull a sweep and the U.S. keeps doing it," said Dawson, who is only two weeks out from breaking his foot. Although he said that pain limits some of his jumps, today's performance proves it is not keeping him from being one of the best in the world.

"A ski boot is kind of like a cast. It doesn't allow my foot to move a lot. In reality, there's not that much pain. I try not to focus on it and focus on the competition," said Dawson.

The American team should continue to dominate as they head to the Japanese and European legs of their World Cup Tour. St. Pierre hopes that the man continue to be the team to beat as they near the Olympic Games in Torino. "There's benefits to chasing and benefits to being chased. It will be our challenge to keep the momentum going, " said St. Pierre. I think the trick is to keep it fresh, not over training."

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