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Male freestyle finalists will take to the air amid rain and snow

Conditions may not be good for those taking part in aerials event Thursday night. Already, two of the favorites have failed to qualify for the 12-man final.

February 25, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — Funny how it works at the Olympics.

Snow was being imported to the weather-challenged Cypress Mountain just a few days ago, the lingering reminder of an often problematic venue.

Then came Tuesday. It started snowing during the women's ski cross event and started coming down harder and harder throughout the day and night.

Perfect for a Currier & Ives holiday print.

Not quite so ideal for the aerial freestylers.

The women's final was held Wednesday night and the men are scheduled to take center stage Thursday. There will be a mixture of snow and rain expected at Cypress the final few days of the Olympics.

Better late than never? Well . . . not exactly.

"The perfect condition for us is a sunny day when it's 25 degrees and no wind," said American Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, who said he would not attempt his signature trick, the Hurricane, if it was too windy.

"The snow at that point would be hard and wouldn't be wet. It'd be perfect.

"But dealing with the rain is something that we've dealt with before."

First off, it won't be sunny. The finals are at night.

The finals could be challenging, given the ever-changing weather conditions. Already, two of the favorites failed to make the 12-man final: No. 1-ranked Anton Kushnir of Belarus and defending Olympic champion Han Xiaopeng of China.

Both fell on their second jump.

There will be two Americans and three Canadians in the final. Americans Ryan St. Onge and Peterson qualified, second and fifth, respectively. The top qualifier was Jia Zongyang of China.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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