Successful Start for Ukraine at the 2023/24 Freestyle Skiing World Cup
The Ukrainian Freestyle Skiing Team made a successful debut at the first stage of the 2023/24 World Cup in Ruka, Finland. Notably, 22-year-old Dmytro Kotovskyi secured a bronze medal in the men's individual competition, as reported by the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.
"The 22-year-old athlete confidently navigated through the qualification and the first round of the final, impressing the audience with a triple somersault with four twists. In the decisive stage, he showcased his unique jump known as the 'hurricane' (full triple full-full), the most challenging among all super-finalists. For this thrilling performance, the athlete scored 117.00 points, securing a well-deserved third place. He was surpassed only by the Beijing 2022 Olympic champion, Chinese athlete Zhi Guanpu (119.91), and Swiss athlete Pirmin Werner (119.00)," reported the NOC of Ukraine.
In both the men's and women's freestyle skiing tournaments, the competition consisted of three stages: qualification, final (for the top 12 athletes), and super-final (for the top 6 athletes). Each athlete had only one attempt in each stage.
In the men's tournament, Ukraine was represented by six skiers, including Kotovskyi. Other participants included Oleksandr Okipniuk, Volodymyr Kushnir, Zakhar Maksymchuk, Yan Havryuk, and Maksym Kuznetsov. The women's tournament featured Angelina Brykina and 16-year-old Diana Yablonska, a debutant in the World Cup.
It's worth noting that Ukraine approached the World Cup in freestyle skiing after a successful previous season in 2022/23, where Ukrainian athletes won six medals in World Cup stages and two at the World Championships.
One of the season's main protagonists, Dmytro Kotovskyi, secured two gold medals, putting him in contention for the Crystal Globe until the final stage, ultimately losing to Swiss skier Noe Roth.
In addition, according to The Gaze, freestyler Oleksandr Abramenko is among the top ten Ukrainian athletes. He became a star of the Ukrainian team at the last two Winter Olympics, winning gold in freestyle skiing in 2018 and silver in 2022. Both times, these were the only medals for the Ukrainian team. This success makes the 33-year-old athlete the most decorated male Olympian in the history of Ukrainian winter sports during independence and one of the main sporting stars of independent Ukraine.