Eric Loughran competes at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup on Feb. 7, 2020 in Park City, Utah.
Based off two events in 2021, it seems pretty clear the world’s top mixed aerials teams are the Russian Ski Federation (RSF), Switzerland and the United States.
That was the podium finish order in mixed team’s lone world cup event of the season back in January, and that was the same order Thursday in Almaty, Kazakhstan, at the world championships. The U.S. team of Ashley Caldwell, Eric Loughran and Chris Lillis won both bronze medals, the one Thursday being the first U.S. world championship medal in mixed team. They finished with 283.97 points, 16.97 points back of the RSF. The RSF team consisted of Maxim Burov, who Wednesday won the men’s individual aerials world title, Pavel Krotov, who won bronze, and Liubov Nikitina, who won bronze in the women’s event.
Mixed team aerials will make its Olympic debut in Beijing next year.
Caldwell and Lillis are now at least partially responsible for all three medals Team USA has picked up thus far at the world championships. Each skier won a silver medal Wednesday in individual aerials. Loughran finished eighth in the men’s individual event after not qualifying for the second run.
Team USA will have a chance at more medals as the world championships shift to home soil for more freestyle skiing plus snowboarding. Big air, halfpipe, and slopestyle competitions in both sports will take place in Aspen, Colorado, with the first finals taking place Friday. The U.S. hosted the 2019 world championships in Park City/Deer Valley, Utah, marking the first time a country has hosted back-to-back world championships.