Freestyle World Cup heads into homestretch with Inawashiro moguls
INAWASHIRO, JPN – The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games have come and gone and now it's back to the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour for a three-week blitz to the end of the season, beginning with back-to-back moguls and dual moguls competitions from Inawashiro, Japan.
The Canadian moguls team is coming off an incredible Games where the duos of Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe and Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury went gold-silver in their respective ladies' and men's Olympic events.
Bronze in the ladies' competition went to the typically dominant Hannah Kearney (USA). While a mistake in her super final run may have cost Kearney the gold medal, she still leads both the moguls and freestyle World Cup overall rankings by a considerable margin.
After a challenging showing at Sochi 2014, expect Kearney to be back in top form as she looks to close out the season strongly and lock down her fourth consecutive moguls crystal globe and perhaps also her third-ever freestyle overall crystal globe.
For the men, it's Bilodeau sitting atop both the moguls and freestyle World Cup overall leader boards, holding on to a narrow lead over Kingsbury. The two teammates have gone eye-for-an-eye all season, with Kingsbury taking victory in the first three events of 2013/14 and Bilodeau taking the three after that.
Were it not for an uncharacteristic sixth place finish for Kingsbury in January's Lake Placid event, the two skiers would likely be tied atop the leader board. As it stands, however, Bilodeau sits on a 40 point cushion, and he will try to maintain the incredible form that earned him his second-consecutive gold medal in Sochi on his way to locking down the moguls and freestyle overall crystal globes for the third time in his career.
With Bilodeau announcing the 2013/14 season as the last of his career, a double-globe performance would be a fitting send-off for the man who may go down in history as the greatest moguls skier of all time.
In last season's Inawashrio single moguls event, Audrey Robichaud (CAN) took the ladies' competition, while Kingsbury was tops for the men. In duals action, it was local favourite Miki Ito (JPN) scoring the victory, with Bradley Wilson (USA) besting Bilodeau for the win in the men's competition.
The Inawashiro event takes place on 01 Feb 2014, with dual moguls competition set to take place the following day. The dual moguls event will be the first of the season, as competition leading up to Sochi 2014 focused on the Olympic event of single moguls.
The 2013/14 men's World Cup leader board can be viewed HERE
The 2013/14 ladies' World Cup leader board can be viewed HERE
The Inawashiro race program can be viewed HERE