Dufour-Lapointe and Kingsbury cap big weekend for Canada
CALGARY, CAN – The Canadian moguls squad capped off a huge weekend for the host nation at the Calgary FIS Freestyle World Cup halfpipe and moguls event at Canada Olympic Park on Saturday.
Claiming four of six podium places on Saturday, and seven of 12 in total over the course of two days of competition, the Canadian squad made a big statement about where they stand as a freestyle powerhouse heading into the final few weeks before the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
In Saturday's ladies' moguls competition it was Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) making perhaps the largest individual statement of the weekend, as she went toe-to-toe with reigning crystal globe winner, world champion, and Olympic gold medal winner Hannah Kearney (USA) and come out on top for the first time in her career.
While the win was not the first of the youngest Dufour-Lapointe sister's time on the World Cup circuit, it was her first win in a competition that Kearney skied in and did not have a fall, DNF, or other major miscue. Qualifying first, finishing on top in the finals, and then claiming the victory in the superfinals, Dufour-Lapointe emerged as a true threat to Kearney, making the lead up to the Sochi Games that much more interesting.
For her part, Kearney is still the biggest fish in the pond, and with just a little more speed or some slightly cleaner turns, the win on the day could have just as easily been hers.
Behind Kearney in third was middle Dufour-Lapointe sister Chloe, the reigning dual moguls world champion. Just a little off the podium, in fifth, was the oldest of the three sisters, Maxime, who claimed her best World Cup result in nearly five years. Between Chloe and Maxime was Andi Naude (CAN), making for four Canadians in the top five on the day.
With one win and onesecond-place finish each, Dufour-Lapointe and Kearney will now both wear the yellow bib as co-leaders of the World Cup moguls tour.
There were some interesting story lines on the men's side, as 2010 Olympic silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) and 2011 world champion Guilbaut Colas (FRA) both made their return to moguls finals after some significant time away from the World Cup stage. With Begg-Smith ending in 12th and Colas finishing 15th, their efforts suggested that a return to form may be possible, though not imminent.
The real battle for supremacy in the moguls World Cup seems to be fought week after week between Canadian teammates Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury, and it's a battle that has reached titanic proportions.
As we've seen so many times over the past 18 months, both competitors throw down an identical superfinals run that included a back double full off the top air bump and a off-axis 1080 on the bottom jump. Both recorded times in the 22 second range, .14 seconds apart, with Bilodeau coming in at 22.83 and Kingsbury at 22.69. Both are masters in the turns, knees tight, heads steady, arms controlled. And both were rewarded with scores in the 25 point range, while no one else cracked the 24 mark.
However, it was Kingsbury who was rewarded with a .52 scoring edge, registering a 25.95 to Bilodeau's 25.43 to take home his second win of the season.
Bilodeau was visibly distressed upon announcement of the results, seemingly certain that his run was enough to knock his younger teammate from the top rung. His top air was an exercise in perfection rarely seen in the rapid fire world of moguls skiing, with both skis set down so straight and so tight together it was tough to believe he had been in the air in the first place.
However, both he and Kingsbury are skiing at such a high level that even the smallest mistake takes on added significance for the judges, and perhaps the one slightly ragged turn in Bilodeau's run was what lost the event for him.
Patrick Deneen (USA) continues to be the fastest, biggest jumping skier on the World Cup, and was rewarded with third place for his efforts. While he's got his work cut out for him if he wishes to best Kingsbury or Bilodeau, when he's on his game there are few others who can touch him.
The FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup now moves to Utah, USA for one of the biggest World Cup events of the year in Deer Valley. Sometimes referred to as the “Superbowl of Freestyle,” the Deer Valley event is one of the longest-running and most prestigious competitions in freestyle.
Full ladies' results can be found HERE
Full men's results can be found HERE
Ladies' competition video can be found HERE
Men's competition video can be found HERE
Photos of this event are available for download HERE