Mikael Kingsbury breaks Canadian record for World Cup wins
Mikael Kingsbury of Canada skis during the second finals run in the men's moguls freestyle skiing event at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:34PM EDT
VOSS, Norway -- Mikael Kingsbury says he grew up watching freestyle skiing legend Jean-Luc Brassard dominate the World Cup moguls circuit.
It took Kingsbury just four seasons to raise the bar even higher.
Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., made Canadian freestyle history Sunday when he won the men's dual moguls at a World Cup stop in Norway. His 21st career win on the circuit moved him past Brassard for most World Cup wins by a Canadian.
"Jean-Luc is an amazing guy. He's been an inspiration to me and to all mogul skiers in Canada," Kingsbury said. "Just to be in front of him is a big accomplishment for me.
"I remember watching Jean-Luc in the World Cup when I was like seven years old, and now to pass him in victories ... he's been a role model for me in everything he's done, not only in skiing."
Brassard, an Olympic champion and two-time world champion, collected his 20 World Cup victories over 11 years on the circuit. At just 21 years old, Kingsbury has the potential to eclipse his hero outside of the World Cup circuit as well. He already has a world title and an Olympic silver medal to his name.
"It's an amazing feeling jut to be the best Canadian at 21 years old and the best for me is yet to come, Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury's gold highlighted another dominating overall performance for Canada's mogul skiers. Kingsbury beat teammate and rival Alex Bilodeau of Rosemere, Que., in the final.
Bilodeau's silver gave him a 47th World Cup medal, tying Brassard's record.
And in the women's dual moguls, Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal finished second, with sister Chloe taking the bronze. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, the oldest of the three skiing sisters, finished fourth after losing to Chloe in the small final.
American Hannah Kearney beat Justine Dufour-Lapointe in the final to take gold. Kearney leads Dufour-Lapointe by just five points in the overall standings heading into next week's season finale in La Plagne, France.
"It's kind of the best thing an athlete can have," Dufour-Lapointe said of her rivalry with Kearney. "It pulls you out to a next level that sometimes you don't think you can go to."
Dufour-Lapointe said she felt nerves in qualifying, but put those behind her as the day progressed.
"After the first (run) I felt way better and was able to charge myself and go a bit faster," she said. "I think that was my best dual against Hannah."
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe goes into the final event in third place, 304 points behind Justine. She said she's not going to think about her overall ranking heading into La Plagne.
"I just go for it, and I want to win the competition," she said. "I'm not going to come for the points I'm just going to go for the win."
The men's standings also come down to the final event, with Kingsbury leading Bliodeau by 31 points in the battle for the Crystal Globe.
"I know what to do to get it," Kingsbury said. "This is mine. I want it so bad it's crazy."
American Bradley Wilson defeated the Russian Alexandr Smyshlyaev in the men's small final to win bronze.
Canadians Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh and Simon Lemieux were both beaten in the quarter-finals, while Philippe Marquis, Pascal-Olivier Gagne and Marc-Antoine Gagnon were eliminated in earlier rounds.
In the women's event, Audrey Robichaud was eliminated in the fourth round while Christel Hamel finished 17th.