Mikaël Kingsbury’s momentum can’t be stopped. This Friday in Deer Valley, Utah, he once again was on the podium – his seventh in a row at a World Cup. A shiny silver medal around his neck, Kingsbury feels ready for the next phase of his season: defending his Olympic title in Beijing.
“My body feels good, I’m healthy and I’m very satisfied with my skiing – especially on a run as difficult as Deer Valley. So far, it’s been a great start to the season, with an incredible January,” said the skier from Deux-Montagnes at the end of the day.
Kingsbury has won the last four events on the World Cup circuit, including the competition held yesterday on the same slope. Friday, the Canadian once again battled friendly rival, Japan’s Ikuma Horishima. The penultimate skier in the super final, the committed Canuck put pressure on his opponent by earning the best score of the day with 82.84 points. However, even that high score wasn’t enough to keep a mitt on the lead.
Just a few short minutes later, Horishima delivered a run that earned him 84.04 points, putting him on the top step of the podium. It goes without saying that once again, these two athletes’ impressive rivalry heated up the slopes!
“Honestly, it was a great run! He put everything into it and really gave it his all to get past me. […] I think he probably had his best run competition, at least, that I’ve ever seen, so the win was well deserved,” said Kingsbury, who may or may not be keeping some tricks up his sleeve for the Olympics, only three weeks away.
“I left a door open for him for sure. I don’t think I skied my absolute best, but I skied super well given the conditions. I also knew Horishima was capable and motivated. In another type of situation, I might have pushed the machine a little bit more in the middle section. […] Overall, I’m satisfied. The fact that I finished so close to the gold – without even using all my proverbial weapons – keeps me confident before the Games.
Sweden’s Walter Wallberg rounded out the Deer Valley World Cup podium with a bronze medal thanks to his 79.62 points.
Québec City’s Laurent Dumais finished eighth – his best result of the season so far. The Quebecois athlete narrowly missed the cut for the super final, reserved for the top six skiers.
Also in action on the slopes were Brenden Kelly (Pemberton, BC) and Gabriel Dufresne(Repentigny, QC) who came in ninth and tenth place overall respectively. Coming in 28thplace was Jordan Kober (Penticton, BC).
In women’s freestyle action, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) was the only Canuck woman to make it through the qualifying round. However, the Montrealer’s progress was halted in after a 15th place finish the first final.
The women’s competition was won by Japan’s Anri Kawamura (80.89 points); Australia’s Jakara Anthony (80.38 points) took silver, and France’s Perrine Laffont (80.02 points) nabbed the bronze.
Maia Schwinghammer (Saskatoon, SK) was the only other Canadian to break into the top-20 on Friday, with a solid 18th place.
Sofiane Gagnon (Whistler, BC), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) and Berkley Brown (Aurora, ON) finished 22nd, 23rd and 25th, respectively.
The national team is heading home to Canada in order to prepare for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Stay tuned – the Canadian Olympic Freestyle Ski Team will be officially announced on January 24th, don’t miss it!