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Aerials end in disappointment again for China

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm •  Published: February 17, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — China came to the Sochi Games with the top-ranked men's and women's aerials team in the world.

It left without an Olympic gold medal. Again.

When Jia Zongyang and Qi Guangpu smashed into the snow during their respective jumps in the men's final on Monday night, it paved the way for Belarusian Anton Kushnir's triumph and left the most dominant country in the sport standing on one of the lower medal steps looking up at the winner. Again.

Jia earned bronze behind Kushnir and David Morris of Australia while Qi missed the podium entirely after he couldn't quite nail down his five-twisting triple-flip in the finals.

The result came three days after Chinese teammate Xu Mengtao grabbed silver but two-time silver medalist Li Nina finished fourth while Alla Tsuper of Belarus earned gold in her fifth and final Olympics.

"Yeah it was quite sad that we didn't get more medals than we actually did," Jia said. "Probably we could have done better. We lost some good opportunities."

China has won gold just once since aerials was introduced at Lillehammer two decades ago, when Han Xiaopeng beat Dmitri Dashinski in Turin in 2006. The expected Chinese gold rush hasn't exactly followed, though it's not for lack of trying.

It speaks to China's depth that Zongyang came to Sochi as the fourth and final member of the team, behind Liu Zhongquig, Qi and Wu Chao. In a sport where a sure thing is a rare thing, the world's most populous nation came pretty close.

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