Thenault Triumphs, Sees Gold Under the Lights in Ruka
Calgary, Alberta – December 3, 2023
The FIS Freestyle 2023/24 World Cup season kicked off with a spectacular aerials competition at the Freestyle Opening Ruka (FIN) this weekend, culminating in a dazzling performance under the illuminating lights of Ruka by Canada’s Marion Thenault. The 23-year-old athlete emerged victorious, clinching the first wins of the new aerials season and securing the third World Cup Gold of her career.
In the climactic super final, Thenault’s performance reached its peak as she executed a perfect Full double Full, setting the tone for a triumphant start to the 2023/24 season. Her score of 99.05 points placed her over a 10-point lead from her closest competitor, solidifying her dominance on the Ruka slopes.
Despite battling illness at the start of the day, Marion Thenault displayed remarkable resilience and skill throughout the competition. Having finished third overall in the previous World Cup season, she led from the qualifications, impressing judges and spectators alike with her flawless execution all the way to the super final.
Coach Jim Bean expressed his pride and joy at Marion’s victory, emphasizing the challenges she overcame during the week. “It was a great win for Marion today!!! As well as a great learning competition week for her. She struggled slightly in training leading up to the event but was able to maintain confidence and reflect on all work she had done in training and put it down when it counted.”
Marion Thenault, reflecting on her victory, said, “It took me some time to realize I actually won. Starting the season with a gold is a huge confidence boost and makes me want to push even harder. It was a challenging day mentally with a lot of doubts, but performing when it matters means a lot to me. I want to increase my degree of difficulty and I want to show I can do even more.”
On the men’s side, Lewis Irving in his first competition since breaking his femur and Alexandre Duchane showcased their skills, making it to the finals and finishing 6th and 8th respectively.
With the captivating action of the opening weekend in Ruka, the aerials tour now heads to Changchun (CHN) for a double event, including aerials mixed team competitions scheduled for December 16-17.