Alex Bilodeau defends moguls gold
KRASNAYA POLYANA - With one perfect run, Alex Bilodeau of Canada became the first Freestyle Skiing athlete to successfully defend a gold medal, besting top rival and teammate Mikael Kingsbury and Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia on Monday night.
After qualifying in top position, Bilodeau nearly found himself eliminated from competition after a ragged run in the first final round, moving into final 2 in eighth place.
His run in final 2 was better than his run in final 1, but Kingsbury’s run in final 2 was even better than that. Clocking one of the fastest runs of the day, nearly perfect in his turns, and with two of the most difficult jumps put down cleanly, Kingsbury appeared to be in an untouchable zone.
In the super final, fast and controlled, with highly difficult back double full and off-axis 1080 jumps, Bilodeau’s final run score of 26.31 was by far the highest of the evening, easily eclipsing Kingsbury’s effort of 24.71.
After the race, Bilodeau acknowledged the role that 21-year-old Kingsbury played in pushing him to his second gold medal-winning performance.
"It's a great feeling, but I need to first of all thank all my colleagues," he said, "Every day they push me in training and that's why I got my best skiing tonight. That's why I'm the best skier I have ever been right now and the guy that finished second, he is going to win everything after I have gone."
Smyshlyaev, Russia's top freestyle skiing medal hopeful, skied exceptionally well all evening in front of an electric crowd. Showing no strain under the pressure, he laid down solid run after solid throughout the evening on his way to the bronze medal.
While he has had an impressive 2013/14 World Cup season, Smyshlyaev has only six World Cup podiums and no victories to his name.
The gold-silver performance was the second in three days for Canada, as the sister act Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe had achieved the feat in Saturday night's ladies' event. For the first time a single nation has taken the top two spots in both the men's and ladies' moguls events at a Games since France performed the feat in 1992.
The six-man final three was rounded out by Marc-Antoine Gangon (CAN) in fourth, Dmitriy Reiherd (KAZ) in fifth, and Patrick Deneen (USA) in sixth.