South Korean mogul skier Seo Jung-hwa said she has earned confidence ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics after posting a strong result at an International Ski Federation (FIS) competition here on Saturday.
Seo finished sixth in the women's moguls competition with a score of 73.50 at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. The FIS World Cup is one of the test events for the PyeongChang Olympics.
Though she missed the podium, it was the best World Cup finish by a South Korean female freestyle skier. Previously, Lee Mee-hyun, who competes in slopestyle, had the best result at a World Cup with a seventh-place finish in Italy last month.
Seo also broke her personal best World Cup finish; she had ended in ninth in Canada last year.
"I'm happy that I did well on the Olympic course," she said. "This result will give me confidence in my preparations for the Olympics."
Seo didn't have a good start at the World Cup at Phoenix Snow Park. She finished 26th in the first qualification round, but joined the finals by taking third in the second qualification stage.
In the World Cup, the top eight performers directly advance to the finals after their first run, while those who finish from No. 9 to No. 28 have to go through another qualification round to earn one of the remaining eight spots in the finals.
In the finals, the 26-year-old scored 76.74 and was the last one to make the super finals, where the top six skiers battle for medals. Seo was the first skier to race in her super finals debut.
"I wasn't feeling nervous, but I wasn't sufficiently ready for my final race," she said. "But it's meaningful that I still earned my best result."
Seo said for the Olympics, she is trying new jumps with a higher degree of difficulty (DD). In the last run, she went for the jump with the highest DD, 1.011, but couldn't execute it cleanly.
"My performance this season wasn't better than last season because I've tried to master the new jump," she said. "But on this Olympic course, I got a good result. I should work harder and improve some of my moves to perform better next year."
For next year, Seo said she just hopes to see many people visiting the Phoenix Snow Park, the venue for freestyle skiing and snowboard events at the PyeongChang Games.
"For the Olympics, I just want to execute my moves well and don't make mistakes," she said. "Mogul skiing is a very interesting sport. I hope many fans visit here and support us." (Yonhap)