Alex Bilodeau, Justine Dufour-Lapointe win World Cup moguls gold
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe 7th, Andi Naude 8th
Alex Bilodeau won the men's moguls gold medal and fellow Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe took the women's title Wednesday at a World Cup freestyle skiing event in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Bilodeau of Rosemere, Que., the reigning Olympic champion, took the men's title with a score of 25.72. He said he made some mistakes on his winning run and thought he might be surpassed by teammate Mikael Kingsbury. But Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., almost went off the course on his final run and ended up sixth.
Americans Patrick Deneen and Bradley Wilson finished second and third respectively.
Bilodeau has had a string of podium finishes heading into the Olympics, including a win last weekend in Deer Valley, Utah.
His World Cup results are considerably more impressive than they were heading into the 2010 Games, though Bilodeau says a lot has changed since he won Canada's first gold medal in Vancouver.
"Every Olympics is unique," Bilodeau said. "I've evolved as an athlete and as a person and I'm getting prepared differently.
"The only thing I want to replicate is my mental state on top of that course, knowing I've done everything I could to get ready for that day. For the rest, it's going to be a different course, different quality of snow and bigger challenges with the other athletes competing."
Kingsbury is believed to be one of Bilodeau's biggest obstacles to defending his gold medal in Sochi. Bilodeau narrowly trailed Kingsbury heading into the second final, and after Bilodeau had what he called a "beatable" final run he feared Kingsbury would eclipse his score.
But Kingsbury had an uncharacteristically flawed final run and slipped to sixth.
"It was a good win but I know I need to step it up for the super final," Bilodeau said. "Mikael won't [make] mistakes like that all the time. He's a pretty consistent athlete and a great skier."
Bilodeau and Kingsbury are currently first and second in the overall World Cup moguls standings. Bilodeau said the sense of competition between the two has been valuable.
"That's why I think we're so dominating on the circuit right now," he said. "It's amazing to have somebody like that [who] can push me every time I've got my skis on."
Strong final run for Dufour-Lapointe
Montreal's Dufour-Lapointe put together a score of 23.90 on her final run to take the women's title. She came back from a distant 15th in qualifying to overtake Americans Heidi Kloser and Hannah Kearney for gold.
"That was a pretty big hit for me," she said of her initial qualifying run. "I was like OK, I did mistakes. So now I just need to focus on the next step and pull out my tiger inside of me and really ski for myself and only myself.
"And I just really skied awesomely. I was in my zone and I was controlling everything."
Dufour-Lapointe said she was positive after the bad result, and rebounded to finish third in the first final.
"The process is the thing that I'm most proud of, not only the gold medal but the process that I took and worked on with my coaches," she said.
In other Canadian results, Justine's sister Maxime Dufour-Lapointe was seventh and Andi Naude eighth.
It's the second-last World Cup moguls event before the Sochi Olympics. The World Cup circuit takes a break following Sunday's competition at Val Saint-Come, Que.