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Kearney of US wins freestyle World Cup event

SUOMU, Finland - SUOMU, Finland (AP) — Hannah Kearney of the United States won a freestyle World Cup event Saturday, while Jesper Bjornlund of Sweden edged American Bryon Wilson in a moguls event.

Kearney of Norwich, Vt., had 25.68 points to defeat Kristi Richards of Canada. Olympic champion Jennifer Heil of Canada was third.

"I did a back layout on the top air, which helped me carry my speed into the middle section, then I did probably the best heli I've done the whole week off the bottom air," Kearney said.

Bjornlund won his second freestyle World Cup race in two days. Bjornlund was slower than Wilson, of Butte, Mont., but received more points for his turns, finishing with a total score of 24.96 to nip the American's 24.95.

Nathan Roberts of Park City, Utah, was third in the first freestyle World Cup meet of the season.

A top-three World Cup finish is one of the surest ways to make the U.S. Olympic team. So far, Wilson and Kearney have two and Roberts has one.

Roberts had his best World Cup result in two seasons. He is on a mission to make the Olympic team after narrowly missing a spot in 2006.

"Right now, being on the podium has taken the pressure off before Christmas and worrying about the Olympic spots," Roberts said. "It gives me confidence to know that if I ski the way I can and I'm capable of, I can hit the podium every week."


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