Alex Bilodeau, Mikaël Kingsbury await men's moguls finals
All 4 Canadians including Philippe Marquis & Marc-Antoine Gagnon move on
Canadian freestyle skiers and medal hopefuls Alex Bilodeau and World Cup champion Mikaël Kingsbury have qualified for the finals of men's moguls on Monday morning.
Bilodeau and Kingsbury finished first and second place in qualifying Monday morning, earning scores of 24.70 and 23.81, respectively.
"I just wanted to get used to that new snow," Bilodeau said after his run. "It's been rock hard all week and now it's soft. You can't be too aggressive because if you are then you have to be smooth. If you put too much pressure on the mogul then it's going to collapse under you, like it did for [Patrick Deneen]."
The top 10 finishers were guaranteed a chance to move on. Anyone outside the top 10 can still qualify by skiing again.
Deneen, a former world champion, had a mishap on his first run but posted the best time in the second run so will compete in the finals.
Two other Canadians were competing. Philippe Marquis came in sixth with Marc-Antoine Gagnon just ahead of him in fifth, so both will be in the final.
Russian skier Alexandr Smyshlyaev was a bit of a surprise with the third-highest score of 23.52.
By making the final, Smyshlyaev gives himself a chance to be the first Russian man to medal in moguls in two decades. The last was Sergey Shupletsov in Lillehammer in 1994.
The finals are scheduled to happen around 1 p.m. eastern time.
Canadian-born Australian skier Dale Begg-Smith, who finished second to Bilodeau in Vancouver, did not crack the top 10 on his first run and fared even worse on his second, so he did not qualify for the finals and as such will not defend his silver medal.
Bilodeau and Kingsbury are a big part of why Canada has come to dominate the moguls hill in recent years. They've taken turns atop the World Cup standings for much of the past four years.
The 21-year-old Kingsbury is the reigning world champion, but the 26-year-old Bilodeau comes to Sochi having won each of the last three events.
"I feel great. I've worked hard," Bilodeau said. "The work is done and I'm just trying to enjoy the moment. It's my last Olympic experience and it's so fun. Each time I'm here I feel like I want to be here forever."
Bilodeau is skiing well but Kingsbury also seems to be peaking and isn't shying away from lofty expectations.
"I think I can win any event if I ski at my best, so I will focus to do the best run of my life for the job that I need to do," he said.
Medals on the men's side would bookend a magical stretch at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for Canada. Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe took gold and silver in the women's final on Saturday night, clasping hands and fighting back tears as their parents screamed from the stands.