Team USA Takes 2nd Place

The Ski Team at the Competition Site

Yesterday was a great day all around, except for the fact that in the end we lost by 15 points in the competition. We skied two competitions yesterday. Each one is scored and the scores are then added together. In the morning competition, we started out hot – a 4 tier act in which we built a 4 tier, carried it through the entire 1/2 mile show course, then turned around and came back as 2 3-highs. We then did a flawless ballet and flawless jump act, complete with double gainers and gainer-flip-gainer. We ended the morning competition in the lead by 20 points.

In the afternoon competition, we didn’t ski as well as we had hoped. We made the 4 tier act again, but after that we had falls in every act. I think fatigue and jet lag had finally set in. We also ended on a downer with the tandem 3 highs going down. The Chinese team skied very well in the afternoon, with some great barefooting, tandem barefooting, backbreakers, and spectacular strap doubles…..the best I’ve ever seen. They deserved to win the competition and in the end they won by 15 points.

The awards ceremony immediately following was unbelievable. There were probably over 300 photographers there as the two teams came to the podium for awards. It was like we were famous. Dan Benz won the best male skier award. I don’t have pictures of the awards ceremony, but people do….I’ll get them out when I can. It’s hard to describe but we were celebrities. This city has never seen show skiing and the people and the media and the photographers were out in full force. And so many Chinese citizens wanted pictures with us. It was fun.

Last night we had a banquet dinner with the Chinese team. They like to toast a lot, and as a result we had a lot of fun. We hit the town after that, and let’s just say we had a good time, but there’s a clear culture difference.

Today we head to Beijing and we get to go to the Great Wall and Forbidden City on Friday before heading home on Saturday. It’s been an amazing trip, and after talking to the head of the Chinese Water Ski Federation last night, there’s a good chance that Mad-City will be asked back in the future. They’ve liked us very much and it’s been a great experience.

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