Peterson's 'Hurricane' will be aerials move to watch
Posted: Tuesday February 21, 2006 4:47PM; Updated: Tuesday February 21, 2006 4:47PM
Jeret Peterson will need a Hurricane if he wants to win gold.
Joe Klamar/Getty Images
SAUZE D'OULX, Italy -- The episode of Happy Days in which The Fonz jumps over a shark on water skis gave us the expression "jump the shark," which, of course, is a pejorative term used to signify that something has run its useful course.
While that episode sounded the death knell for Richie, Potsie and the gang, let us not forget that Fonzie actually jumped a shark, which is why, if you were old enough at the time, you tuned in.
For the same reason, you should be watching the men's freestyle aerials finals on Thursday at Sauze d'Oulx Jouvenceaux. American Jeret (Speedy) Peterson has promised to pull out the Hurricane, a frenetic orgy of flips (three) and twists (five) that could only be more difficult if he brought out a shark tank and placed it at the base of the kicker.
In 2002, Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic stuck a quintuple twist on his last jump to vault from fifth place to the gold medal. Peterson's Hurricane is actually a harder jump. Valenta's had two double twists and a single; Peterson's has two singles sandwiched around a triple.
As if he didn't already have enough on his mind, Speedy will be carrying the hopes of his entire team. Eric Bergoust, Ryan St. Onge and '02 silver medalist Joe Pack -- medal contenders all -- each failed to finish in the top 12 in Monday's qualifying and therefore won't be jumping in the finals. Peterson finished eighth, but that was doing two quadruple jumps.
The Hurricane has a much higher degree of difficulty, and Speedy has vowed to break out the jump, which no one else is likely to try, on Thursday no matter what -- even if a safer jump guaranteed him a medal. (He's a gambling man: Not too long ago he parlayed a $5,000 nest egg earned working at Home Depot into a $200,000 blackjack haul.)
Rarely in a judged sport will a result be so cut and dry: If Speedy nails the Hurricane, he's all but a lock to win gold. If he misses, his chances of winning any medal are virtually nil. It'll make for great viewing