Johnson and Horishima prevail in Tazawako dual moguls

04 March 2018 14:25
Ikuma Horishima and Mikael Kingsbury battling for gold in Tazawako
Ikuma Horishima and Mikael Kingsbury battling for gold in Tazawako -

Tazawako (JPN) - Tess Johnson (USA) and Ikuma Horishima (JPN) claimed victories in dual moguls on the second day of back-to-back competitions at the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup event in Tazawako while Mikael Kingsbury secured his seventh consecutive moguls crystal globe.

It was another exciting day in the Akita prefecture’s biggest ski resort of Tazawako, with the first dual moguls event of the season delivering some thrilling and tight head-to-head battles with the world’s best moguls skiers giving their best in front of an enthusiastic Japanese crowd for yet another top-tier show.

And while the weather was far different from Saturday’s bluebird skies with rain showers making the snow conditions challenging, Sunday’s competition still managed to provide plenty of emotions as well as some unexpected results.


Tess Johnson grabs her career’s first World Cup victory

In the ladies’ competition it was 17-year-old Tess Johnson who came in hot on Sunday, winning duals against her more experienced World Cup colleagues Audrey Robichaud (CAN), yesterday’s winner Perrine Laffont (FRA), and Laura Grasemann (GER) before she finally lined up against last year’s World Cup winner Britteny Cox (AUS) in the super final. In that final battle the young US athlete trumped Cox by a score of 22 to 13 for her first ever World Cup victory.

“It is crazy,” Johnson said following her gold medal run, “I feel like this podium has been a long time coming and I’ve been wanting it for two years now pretty badly so to have it to come in a form of a gold medal is just really special.”



By finishing in second Britteny Cox made a comeback to the World Cup podium for the first time since her victory in Calgary back in January, wrapping up her season on a high note, as the Australian athlete the current second-place on the moguls rankings has decided to skip the two remaining stops in Europe despite sitting only 60 points below Perrine Laffont.

“After a couple of rough weeks it’s nice to be back on the podium and since it’s my last event of the season it feels awesome to finish it like this and go home on a high,” Cox said.

Third place on the day went to the 26-year-old veteran Laura Grasemann (GER), who was able to edge out the local favourite Hinako Tomikata (JPN) and grab her very first World Cup podium finish. With more than 50 World Cup appearances to her account, Grasemann looked to be on cloud nine once the results came in granting the German mogul skier her third-place result.

“I think I cannot even believe it right now,” Grasemann said after the awards ceremony, “It’s just amazing because first of all I had a really hard time not making it to the Games in Korea and now two competitions later I’ve won my first medal so it really feels great.”


Horishima scores the World Cup hat-trick in Tazawako

Over on the men’s side the battle for top spot was once again to be decided between the ‘king of moguls’ Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) and the rising Japanese star (and the double World Champion from Sierra Nevada) Ikuma Horishima (JPN).

And for the second day in a row it was Ikuma Horishima who thrilled the Japanese crowd with a victory, storming through the tight course in Tazawako to beat Kingsbury 21 to 14 to grab his third consecutive World Cup victory and his second win in as many days.

“All my match-ups today were very challenging so I really wanted to concentrate on my skiing and do my best,” Horishima said, “I’ve been watching Mikael skiing since a long time and always wanted to be as good as he is, so now taking two victories here in Tazawako makes me just very proud and gives me another reason to work even harder in order to win more medals.”




With his second runner-up result finish in the second competition in Tazawako Kingsbury confirmed his dominance on tour, securing his seventh moguls World Cup crystal globe, while also sitting comfortably on the lead in the overall FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup overall ranking. It seems clear now that perhaps the best man to ever ski moguls will raise both World Cup trophies above his head once again when the season comes to an end in two weeks time in Megeve (FRA).

“It wasn’t my best skiing today, but I’m still happy with back-to-back silver,” said Kingsbury, “My goal this year was to win the Olympic gold and I’ve just added another crystal globe so it’s been a pretty crazy year so now I can just relax and enjoy skiing.”

Third place on the day, once again, went to Dimitriy Reikherd (KAZ), who capitalized on Ben Cavet’s (FRA) mistake in the small final for his seventh World Cup podium finish this season.

The moguls action continues next week with another dual moguls competition schedule to take place in Airolo (SUI) on Saturday, March 10.