|Han Xiaopeng celebrates his gold medal 23
February, 2006 following the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics Freestyle
Skiing Men's Aerials finals in Sauze d'Oulx, Italy.
Han Xiaopeng made history
by becoming the first Chinese skier to win Olympic gold with his
sensational victory in the men's freestyle
aerials final here on Thursday.
Han, who was competing in his first ever final, shocked everyone by
taking gold ahead of Belarus'
Dmitri Dashinski and Russia's Vladimir Lebedev.
Han was second after the first jumps but his second leap - a back-lay-double-full-full - secured
250.77 points to edge final jumper Dashinski.
The 22-year-old became the youngest gold medallist in mens aerials
beating Switzerland's Andreas Schoenbaechler who was 27 years and 295 days
when he took gold in 1994.
With reigning champion Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic and world
champion Steve Omischl just of two big names to crash out in the
qualifying the competition was there for the taking and Han took full
After the first round of jumps Dashinski, bronze medallist in Nagano
1998, led the way with 131.42 points with Han in second and American Jeret
Peterson in third.
But the women's aerials on Wednesday, when Chinese jumpers occupied the
top three slots only to finish with one silver, had shown that everything
can change around in an instant on the second jump.
Lebedev, who failed to qualify for the final at the 2002 Games, was the
surprise early leader but Han then nudged him from top spot and waited for
The Belarus jumper, whose silver represents his country's first medal
at the Olympics, waited anxiously but held his hands on his head at
Peterson was another to be disappointed with the American loving his
final jump, pumping his first in joy, but the judges didn't and placed him