Kearney and Kingsbury win Ruka Moguls
Hannah Kearney (USA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) have clinched the moguls event at the Freestyle Ski Opening Ruka staged today in the Ruka Ski Resort.
The US skier led the ladies' podium with a total of 25.07 points ahead of Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN, 23.90) and Aiko Uemura (JPN, 23.69) thus clinching her career's 37th victory in her 98th World Cup start.
Kearney was clearly pleased to be back in a familiar position to start the season after missing out the first two events of the 2012-13 season due to injury, even if she did have to fight from behind for today's victory. “I could not have asked for a more satisfying day. There was something about building your way up. I was second, then I was third getting into the superfinal.
"This first place and, more than that, winning the way I did gives me a lot of confidence on the Olympic season.”
Second ranked Dufour-Lapointe was similarly pleased after scoring her career's 17th podium finish. “It's hard to describe how I feel right now," she said, "I can't believe I got on the podium today. I feel awesome.
"I worked so hard this summer, the first World Cup event is always really stressful, and I just really managed to do it so well and now I'm so happy that I worked so hard all last summer just for that. I couldn't thank enough my coach. It was painful, but it paid off.”
On the men's side, Team Canada celebrated a 1-2-punch with Kingsbury in first due to the best score of 26.93 points and Alex Bilodeau (26.54) in second. Sho Endo (JPN) rounded out the podium in third position (25.24).
Kingsbury thus brought home his career's 17th World Cup win in only 42 starts so far.
“It was crazy, competing for the whole day against Alex (Bilodeau) is so demanding and tough. We've pushed the whole day, and it was cool that I was able to put out my best run right in the superfinal. The day's done and now I'm finally going home for Christmas,” said Kingsbury.
As for his countryman Bilodeau, today's podium was the 40th of his career, and the top-3 result made things a little sweeter for the 2010 Olympic gold medal winner before the moguls World Cup takes a break until the New Year.
“I'm very happy with my skiing today, I jumped very well, it's a great course here in Ruka, I always love it, and now I can enjoy Christmas holidays back home.”