Abramenko's Aerials Gives Ukraine Rare Olympic Gold

Oleksandr Abramenko gave Ukraine its third-ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics, edging China's Jia Zongyang in men's aerials on Sunday night.

The 29-year-old Abramenko posted a score of 128.51 in his last jump to give his country its first medal in Pyeongchang. He also became the first Ukrainian man to win a medal of any variety in the Winter Games.

Abramenko and Jia both attempted the same jump in the finals, a back full, double full. Abramenko, jumping third in the six-man final, drilled his and celebrated when his score flashed by running around and using the Ukrainian flag as a cape.

The score stood after Canada's Olivier Rochon and Stanislau Hladchenko of Belarus both washed out in their last attempts, leaving only Jia. Jumping last, Jia stomped his attempt and turned toward the landing hill with his arms raised in triumph.

Abramenko appeared to cede defeat only to explode when Jia's score came up less than half a point short of gold. The silver gave China three medals in aerials after Zhang Xin and Kong Fanyu took silver and bronze in the women's event on Friday night.

The only other gold medals won by the Ukraine at the Winter Games came in 1994 when Oksana Baiul captured the title in women's figure skating and in 2014 when the women's biathlon team earned the top spot in the relay.

Ilia Burov, an Olympic athlete from Russia, earned bronze. The Russian contingent remains without a gold in South Korea after winning 13 in Sochi four years ago

American Jon Lillis topped qualifying on Saturday and advanced to the second round of elimination but ran into form issues in the semifinals.

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