Mikael Kingsbury leads 3-medal haul for Canada in moguls
Alex Bilodeau, Justine Dufour-Lapointe earn silver
Canadians Mikael Kingsbury and Alexandre Bilodeau finished 1-2 in men's moguls on Saturday in a World Cup of freestyle skiing event in Ruka, Finland.
Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., won gold with a score of 26.93, while Bilodeau, from Montreal, took silver with 26.54. Japan's Sho Endo (25.24) placed third.
"Alex was going right before me and he did an amazing run with a very high score," said Kingsbury. "I knew it would be very hard to beat that score, so I went for it. I went just a little bit faster than him and got the gold today.
"It's probably the best run of my life."
Kingsbury was very pleased with his performance, especially heading toward the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this February.
"It's the perfect way to start the season, especially for an Olympic year," said Kingsbury. "It's looking great, I'm skiing great, I'm in good shape, no injuries. I just want to keep it going."
Bilodeau, who won gold for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Games, is very impressed with Kingsbury's progress as a high-calibre skier.
"Mikael is a great talent and he really pushed it today," said Bilodeau. "I put the bar very high and I knew I had a very clean run, quite fast. He had to go all out."
Bilodeau was also pleased with his performance and is looking forward to fine-tuning for the Olympics.
"I went very big on the top air, perfect top air. The middle section probably was one of my best middle sections ever," said Bilodeau. "I can't wait to see the videos and to see the judge's score and to analyze that with my coach."
Quebec City's Philippe Marquis was in 10th and Montreal's Pascal-Olivier Gagne was 12th.
In women's moguls competition, Montreal's Justine Dufour-Lapointe won silver with a score of 23.90. She lost to American Hannah Kearney (25.07) and beat out Japan's Aiko Uemura (23.69).
"I worked hard this summer on my jumps and it really paid off today," said Dufour-Lapointe. "I'm really stoked and happy that everything came together. It's such a good feeling to know that you've done an awesome job."
Dufour-Lapointe likes how competitive the women's moguls circuit has become leading to the Sochi Games.
"This season I really feel the girls are hungry to go faster, to try and make it to the Games," said Dufour-Lapointe. "It's really fun and nice that the sport's going further. It's going to be a really good year, I think."
Montreal's Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was fifth, Quebec City's Audrey Robichaud ninth, Montreal's Maxime Dufour-Lapointe 14th and Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C., came 16th.