Colorado moguls skier Tess Johnson finds career-best result in China
EDWARDS — Local Tess Johnson notched her best-ever finish on the World Cup circuit on Thursday, Dec. 21, when she finished seventh in the moguls event in China’s Secret Garden venue.
The venue will be the site of the 2022 Olympics, but Johnson, 17, has her eye on 2018. She’s currently in a tightly contested race to be one of the four female competitors to make the team. Finishing third among Americans on Thursday, her parents described it as a breakthrough performance.
“She was pretty excited about her run and her performance,” said Carol Johnson, Tess’ mother, who talked to Tess following the race. “But she wants more.”
Moguls competitors receive their scores based on the time they post down the course, the quality of their turns and the tricks they perform in the air on the course’s two jumps.
A panel of judges examines the turns and airs, and athletes advance through rounds of semi-finals, finals and super finals to determine top finishers.
Tess Johnson, along with Americans Mikaela Matthews, Keaton McCargo and Morgan Schild all finished among the top 10 on Thursday.
BEST RESULT YET
Johnson’s score on Thursday was the best she had ever received in a competition. Finishing in seventh, she was one place behind the goal every moguls skier sets for himself or herself in a competition — making the top-six super final competition.
“Her goal is getting a super final and a podium this season, so she’s working toward that goal,” Carol Johnson said.
Before Thursday, Johnson’s best World Cup finish had been a eighth-place result in Lake Placid, New York, last season.
In the first event of this season, Johnson qualified into finals in fourth as the top-finishing American in another breakthrough performance. She skied out of the course in finals, however, and did not finish the race, settling for 15th place. Carol Johnson said those two scenarios for Tess — a breakthrough result or a “DNF” (did not finish) are the two likely outcomes the 17-year-old is facing at this point in her career.
“She doesn’t want to ski safe because if she skis safe she’s not going to end up where she wants to be, in that top six,” Carol Johnson said. “It’s definitely a bit of a journey and a puzzle, and she seems to be figuring it out.”