Jaelin Kauf reacts after competing at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 9, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
With podium finishes in the last two world cup events from last season in dual moguls, Olympian Jaelin Kauf picked up right where she left off, this time taking second place in moguls to open the 2020-21 world cup season in Ruka, Finland.
Kauf was the fastest woman Saturday at Rukatunturi, but lower scores in air and turns left her in second place with 75.74 points, 3.44 behind champion Perrine Laffont of France. Laffont is not only the reigning Olympic gold medalist, she won every moguls world cup event in 2019-20, and one of two dual moguls events with the other one going to Kauf. The second-place finish is the first podium for Kauf in moguls since Jan. 12, 2019. She had four dual moguls podiums last season.
Kauf, 24, competed in moguls at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, qualifying for the second final and ultimately finishing seventh, the top woman from Team USA in moguls. Kauf is a two-time world championship medalist, winning the silver medal most recently in 2019, losing in the final to Laffont.
Team USA had other contenders for the women’s podium Saturday, with Hannah Soar finishing in fifth and Kai Owens right behind her in sixth. Men’s moguls was a close call for Team USA, with Dylan Walczyk finishing just off the podium in fourth place.
Ruka also hosted the first aerials world cup event of the season, and Team USA’s Kaila Kuhn missed the podium by .03 points Friday. In the men’s competition, it was an all-Russia podium, with Justin Schoenefeld as the top finisher from Team USA in fifth.