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“King” of the moguls back on top of the podium

Mikaël Kingsbury bounces back with style in Idre Fjäll

After being eliminated from the super final 24 hours earlier, Mikaël Kingsbury bounced back in fine fashion Sunday, with a victory in the dual moguls, the event that brought the World Cup in Idre Fjäll, Sweden to a close.

Determined to make up for his eighth-place finish the previous day, the Deux-Montagnes, Québec native left no doubt about his skills and fitness on the moguls Sunday. He dominated from the outset and ended the day on the top step of the podium with a gold medal – and a well-earned sense of accomplishment.

“I feel really good, that’s for sure! I was disappointed to miss the super final yesterday. I made a stupid mistake, but that served as motivation to come back stronger and ski better today (Sunday). I’m very happy with the way I got back on top today,” he commented, just seconds after securing his 67th World Cup victory.

Even with Kingsbury’s legendary abilities, the win wasn’t a cakewalk, as the Canadian faced stiff competition. Winning his first two duels against France’s Martin Suire and American Bradley Wilson, Kingsbury secured his place in the final descent with a win over Sweden’s Oskar Elofsson.

The reigning Olympic moguls champion then put the finishing touches on his picture-perfect day by defeating his perennial rival: Japan’s Ikuma Horishima. Initially, it was neck and neck, with Horishima getting off to a great start and taking a slight lead – until Kingsbury opened up the throttled and let loose.

With impeccable technique and spectacular moves, Kingsbury ripped through the second section of the course to lead his opponent by 0.03 seconds at the finish line. At the bottom of the hill, both skiers congratulated each other before the judges at last confirmed the Canadian’s triumph.

“It’s always exciting to race against Ikuma – he’s one of the very best skiers in the world and I love competing against him. It’s always very close and this race was no exception; it was really amazing,” concluded Kingsbury, who gets to enjoy a well-deserved day off before turning his attention to the Alpe d’Huez World Cup in France next weekend.

Also competing for the men were: Gabriel Dufresne (Repentigny, QC), Jordan Kober(Penticton, B.C.), Brenden Kelly (Pemberton, B.C.), Kerrian Chunlaud (Sainte-Foy, QC) and Elliot Vaillancourt (Drummondville, QC) all of whom were unable to make it past the qualifying rounds. They finished 17th, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 51st respectively.

Sporting the maple leaf in the women’s event, Sofiane Gagnon (Whistler, BC) had the best result of the day for Canadian women, with a seventh-place ranking. The 22-year-old skier lost in the quarter-finals to three-time world champion French athlete Perrine Laffont.

France’s Laffont continued on to the grand final where she defeated Japan’s Rino Yanagimoto (silver) to claim the gold medal. Australia’s Jakara Anthony completed the podium with a win over American Olivia Giaccio in the bronze medal duel.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montréal, QC) and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (Montréal, QC) lost to Yanagimoto and Laffont respectively in the round of 16. The Quebecers nonetheless finished with respectable 11th and 13th place ranking.

Valérie Gilbert (Sainte-Adèle, QC) and Maia Schwinghammer (Saskatoon, SK) did not make it to the qualifying round and finished 17th and 26th, respectively.


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