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U.S. aerials follows Olympic team gold with world title

The U.S. aerials team of Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Quinn Dehlinger wins the mixed-gender aerials team event at the World Freestyle Skiing Championships one year after taking gold in the event's Olympic debut.

The U.S. won the mixed-gender aerials team event to open the world freestyle skiing championships, one year after taking gold in the event’s Olympic debut.

Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Quinn Dehlinger combined to prevail in Georgia (the country, not the state), tallying 331.37 points on Sunday. They topped longtime aerials power China by 10.66 points. Ukraine took bronze.

“These events have so much anxiety because we’re so close off the hill,” Lillis said. “I felt like every jump I took was for my two teammates.”

Caldwell landed a full-double full, then Lillis and Dehlinger each did a double full-full-full.

Last year, Caldwell, Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld won the first Olympic aerials team event, marking the first U.S. Olympic aerials podium finish since 2010 and first gold since Nikki Stone and Eric Bergoust swept the women’s and men’s titles in 1998. Later in the 2022 Games, Megan Nick took bronze in the women’s event.

Caldwell, who said she almost skipped worlds to spend time with her family, and Lillis added to their world medal collections. Caldwell won individual gold in 2017 and silver in 2021. Lillis took silver in 2021.

Dehlinger, a 20-year-old slopestyle convert from Cincinnati, took silver at junior worlds last year.

China didn’t bring back any of its medalists from last year’s Olympics. Ukraine’s top aerialist, Oleksandr Abramenko, is out with a season-ending knee injury.

The men’s and women’s individual aerials finals are Wednesday at 5 a.m. ET, live on Peacock.

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