Ashley Caldwell competes at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 5, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Ashley Caldwell saved the best for last.
In the final world cup competition of the season, the three-time Olympian earned her first podium of the season in women’s aerials on Sunday, taking third place in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Caldwell earned a spot in the final, then executed her back full double full trick to score 88.83 points on her second run. Australian Olympian Laura Peel won with a score of 96.99, and China’s Sicun Xu was third with a score of 95.86. Caldwell’s best finish before Sunday was fifth place in Raubichi, Belarus in February.
Her last podium finish was one year ago at Shimao Lotus Mountain in China, where she placed third and second on back-to-back days. That was also the last world cup weekend of the season, and the order of finish of the top three was the same in the penultimate competition.
Overall, this was Caldwell’s 15th time reaching the podium in world cup competition since 2011. The 26-year-old from Ashburn, Virginia, has had at least one podium finish in each of the past seven seasons. She won the world championship in 2017, but suffered a shoulder injury during practice at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and finished 17th. She had surgery several months later and competed in the world championships in 2019, finishing fifth just six months and two weeks after the operation.
Caldwell is known for trying — and landing — tricks that no other U.S. women are doing. She is the first woman from the U.S. to land both a full full full (three flips and two twists) and The Daddy, which is a full, double full, full.
Megan Nick finished in seventh place, giving the U.S. two in the top 10. Three men also finished in the top 10 for the U.S. Jonathon Lillis was seventh, Alex Bowen was ninth and Eric Loughran was 10th.