Four podium day for Canada; Kearney and Kingsbury take wins
CALGARY, CAN – On a chilly, overcast day at Calgary's Canada Olympic Park, the host nation had a huge day while the two top athletes in Freestyle were back to their old ways, with the Canadians scoring four podiums and Hannah Kearney (USA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) stepping up to claim moguls victories in dominant fashion.
As she's done so many times before, Kearney skied strongly to lead from start to finish throughout Saturday's qualification and final rounds, coming out blazing with a qualification run that would stand up as the top-scoring effort on the day before topping everything off with a final run that was nearly a second faster than any other competitors.
“It was really fun to ski this course today,” Kearney said after the race, “We get really got really lucky with some snow over night that made an otherwise super challenging mogul course a little easier.
“My best run was first run of the day, which is actually not the way things usually go for me, but still I was able to put a good one together in the big final and take the win. It was fun to be back in single moguls format. I'm feeling good heading into Deer Valley next week, which is one of my favourite events.”
Kearney was chased throughout the day by the sister duo of Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN). While at last year's event those three same athletes also shared the podium, with Justine taking the win, Kearney in second, and Chloe in third, this year Justine was forced to settle for the bottom spot on the podium while Chloe collected her second straight runner-up finish.
While Kearney and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe are now tied in points atop the leaderboard, Kearney takes the yellow leader's bib based on Saturday's win as a tiebreaker. The previous ladies' leader, Yulia Galysheva (KAZ), did not compete in Calgary.
Though Sho Endo (JPN) came into the finals as the top-ranked skier following a blistering qualification run, in the finals it was Mikael Kingsbury with huge runs in both rounds to prove again his moguls supremacy after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the first event of the season at Ruka, FIN.
Kingsbury's final run, including a double-full on the top air bump and his signature off-axis 1080 on the bottom jump, was simply in another league. His final run score of 85.78 was nearly three points better than his teammate Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh's 82.92, and gave Kingsbury his fifth win in a row in Calgary and one of the most decisive victories we're likely to see this year.
“I was really happy to have my best run in the super final,” said Kingsbury from the finish area, “It feels really good to get my fifth win in a row here. It's kind of crazy, to have a streak like that.”
There was no shame in second for Pouliot-Cavanagh, however, as the finish was just the second podium of his career and his best World Cup result ever. The 24 year old was able to stay ahead of the speedy Endo by recording some of the highest turning scores of the day in his final run, and his performance shows again that the Canadians may be readily able to fill the void left by the retired Alex Bilodeau.
Endo's third-place finish was his second straight podium of the season after a second-place finish in Ruka, enough to give the explosive skier the yellow leader's bib in the 2014/15 season's early going.
Next week the FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup moves to Deer Valley, USA, as action across the board heats up ahead of the Kreischberg 2015 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships, coming up in just over a week.