LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Steve Omischl of North Bay, was already the World Cup men's aerials leader, but he was still pumped about collecting his third World Cup victory of the season Friday.
After placing 10th last week in Mont Tremblant, he won this final in convincing fashion, scoring 246.01 points. That left 2002 Olympic champion Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic second in 236.29, while the bronze medal went to Dmitri Dashinski of Belarus.
"That was awesome. I think that's the best I've ever jumped in a clutch situation," said Omischl, 25, after the fifth World Cup victory of his freestyle ski career.
"I just did a clutch jump," he said of his second jump, a triple-twisting triple somersault that he refers to as his bread-and-butter jump. "It was about a point from perfect."
Friday's performance was also the first time he was able to convert a leading score in the qualification round into a win, he says. Omischl led after the first round of the December 2003 World Cup in Finland, but slipped to sixth.
Although he won both Australian finals of this Suzuki Freestyle FIS World Cup circuit, those happened in late summer.
"I needed to build a bit more momentum because I didn't back up those wins as well as I would have liked," admitted Omischl, who was 6th and 10th in his two previous starts.
Teammate Kyle Nissen of Calgary was second after the first round Friday, but ended up eighth. Jeff Bean of Ottawa was ninth, while Warren Shouldice of Calgary -- a silver medallist last week -- placed 14th in missing the 12-skier final.
Nine Chinese qualified for the aerials finals, including seven women. But Jiao Wang was a somewhat surprising winner, considering she sat only eighth after the qualification round.
She went on to win the women's aerials with a score of 183.61, just a point ahead of Chinese teammate Nina Li, who captured her second World Cup silver medal in as many weeks. The bronze went to Lydia Ierodiaconou of Australia.
Last week's bronze medallist in Mont Tremblant, Deidra Dionne of Red Deer, AB, had a solid second-place qualification jump. She received 90.52 points, but a score of 71.35 on her second jump dropped her to seventh.
With that result, Dionne sits sixth in the women's overall World Cup aerials standings. Australian Alisa Camplin, who finished 21st in Friday's competition, remains atop the overall standings.
Among the men, Omischl leads with 366 points, while Dmitri Dashinski of Belarus is second at 301. Nissen is the next Canadian, in sixth overall.
World Cup action resumes here with moguls Saturday and more aerials Sunday.
PHOTO: Steve Omischl of North Bay captured his third World Cup victory of the season Friday at Lake Placid, N.Y.