Aussies claim five medals, including a historic 1-2 in aerial skiing as Beijing 2022 Games preparation ramps up
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Australia's preparations for the upcoming Winter Olympics have taken another giant leap forward, with five World Cup medals won in competitions across Europe.
Australian aerial skiers Danielle Scott and Laura Peel recorded a historic 1-2 at the FIS World Cup event in Ruka, Finland.
Bell Brockhoff claimed silver in the snowboard cross event in Austria, while Jakara Anthony made it back-to-back World Cup podiums by finishing third over the moguls at Sweden's Idre Fjäll.
Then, on the ice at Winterberg in Germany, Bree Walker won her third-straight medal in the monobob event, finishing second.
Scott and Peel took home gold and silver after producing stunning one-off leaps to claim both spots on the top of the podium, beating China's Mengtao Xu into third.
Scott's double full-full jump, triple twisting double back somersault scored her a whopping 102.93 points to hand the 31-year-old a fifth World Cup victory.
"Walking away with the gold today feels pretty amazing," Scott told the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia after collecting her gold.
"It's been a bit of a slow, but good build to the season.
"I started doing triple back somersaults last week, but decided to compete double somersaults today.
"I have cracked the 100 point mark before on a triple twisting double, so I thought that would be my goal for today and ended up walking away with the win, which I am so incredibly happy with."
Joining her on the podium was 2021 world champion and World Cup winner Peel, whose full-tuck-full double twisting triple back somersault earned her 99.37 points.
It was the first double podium finish in a World Cup event for Australia since Lydia Lasila and Peel won silver and bronze medals at Lake Placid in 2018.
Scott, who spent "lots of hours" at the Geoff Henke Olympic Winter Training Centre water jump in Brisbane, said it was great to share the podium with her teammate.
"To have a teammate on the podium is pretty special, we have a pretty awesome team dynamic right now, and it's even sweeter I guess."
On the mogul tour, Anthony will don the yellow leaders bib for the first time after soaring to the top of the World Cup standings after a second-placed finish at Idre Fjäll in Sweden.
"It's incredible to go back to back podiums to start the season off in Ruka and now here in Idre Fjäll, it's very exciting," the 23-year-old said.
"We have a lot of events going on this year before we even get to the Olympics, and to start the season off so strong and to feel like I am in a really good place has given me a lot of confidence moving forward."
It was not all good news in Sweden though.
Reigning Olympic silver medallist Matt Graham suffered a shoulder injury that is likely to require surgery, putting him in a race to be fit for the 2022 Games.
Those results come hot on the heels of Australia's Brockhoff securing silver in the snowboard cross event in Montafon, Austria.
The 28-year-old moved to third in the overall World Cup standings after recording the 13th World Cup medal of her career.
It's not just on the snow that Australia's preparations are picking up the pace.
On the ice, Walker picked up her third podium in a row on the World Series, finishing second at Winterberg.
The 29-year-old Queenslander, who finished second on the World Series last year, sits fifth in this year's standings.
Monobob, the one-woman event, will make its Olympic debut in Beijing.
"I am so proud of all the Australian athletes out there kicking butt, and be part of the elite team that is bringing home some hardware for Australia," she said.
On Thursday night, Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill qualified for the curling mixed doubles, the first time Australia will compete at a Game in curling.
The Beijing Olympic Games gets underway on February 2.
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