Canada’s Irving finishes third for first career World Cup podium

Canada's Lewis Irving (George Frey/AP)

Canada’s Lewis Irving finished third at an aerials World Cup in Secret Garden, China on Saturday for his first career World Cup medal.

Irving, returning to the sport after a back injury sidelined him for half of last season, snagged 103.68 points for the bronze on the aerials site for the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

Zongyang Jia of China was first with 127.88 points and Maxim Gustik of Belarus was second with 117.26.

"It feels awesome. This is my first podium, so hopefully more to come," Irving said. "It feels great — I am lost for words right now.

"My strategy for today was to focus jump by jump and stay in the moment, get the scores that I get, and just keep going."

The Quebec City native was named FIS freestyle rookie of the year in 2016.

The podium finish comes at a good time for Irving with the Olympic selection process in full swing.

"Our Olympic qualification process is very long, but this definitely helps and takes some weight off for the rest of the season," he said.

Canadians Olivier Rochon and Felix Cormier-Boucher finished 12th and 32nd, respectively.

Catrine Lavallee was the top Canadian on the women’s side. She finished 17th.

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