McPhie and Wilson best in Kreischberg dual moguls
Heather McPhie (USA) remained undefeated with a win at the second stop of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup circuit on a difficult course in Kreischberg, Austria as the moguls World Cup continued with a dual moguls event. USA teammate Heidi Kloser posted the best results of her young career in second, falling to McPhie in the finals. It is McPhie’s third career victory.
Meanwhile in the men's competition, Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson of the USA, whose last World Cup podium was two years ago, stayed atop the leader board for most of the day with consistent skiing and huge air to win out over Canadian gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau in the final heat and to take a career first World Cup win. It was the first ever duals event hosted in Kreischberg and Wilson's first World Cup win of his career and first podium in two years as he is in his first full season back after a knee injury in 2011.
Canadians Mikael Kingsbury and Justine Dufour-Lapointe claimed the third places in the men's and ladies' competitions, respectively. Kingsbury beat teammate Philippe Marquis in the Small Final while Dufour-Lapoint won over Australian Britteny Cox.
Heather McPhie stated after her 2 out of 2 victory this season: "It was an interesting couple days. I really struggled yesterday and went to bed last night not knowing what was going to happen today but I came out this morning and decided I wasn't going to give up without a fight. A big goal of mine was just to stay mentally strong. This course was really flat and thats usually not my strength so to be able to excel here means a lot.
It was great going into finals with Heidi. When I saw her coming up the cat I couldn't have been more excited for her. As soon as I saw her I told her 'I'm going to be competitive in about 5 minutes but right now I'm so stoked for you!' The U.S. is killing it right now and this was a great Christmas present for all of us!"
Bryon Wilson commented: "This is my first season back since my injury and it feels good to be back on tour and to come out with my first win is pretty amazing. Theres no better feeling than to be able to put all the pieces together and come out on top. In my finals run I was able to see that Bilodeau bobbled so I knew if I successfully threw a trick I could win. Right now i'm just focusing on my skiing and working on staying in the moment. If I do that the results will come."
Bilodeau, who pointed out that the relatively-short course with icy bumps, “wasn’t easy but it was easy to make mistakes, noted: “You need to be on that course, when you go faster your chances are doubling and quadrupling of making mistakes, I think we were going pretty fast today and that was my strategy all along, but I also made mistakes.”
In fact, Bilodeau, who took most of last season off, said he was lucky just to have made it to the 16-man finals.
“I got a pretty good gift in the morning,” he said of his 13th place qualification run. “I didn’t ski well in qualifiers, but I got to go to finals and I made the best out of it. I also made mistakes in my two last duals in the middle section."
“All of this just shows me there’s still place for improvement. I don’t know if it’s that I’m not really comfortable with racing, it’s been a while, I don’t know if that’s the case, but there’s still stuff I want to improve. I think that with Mike (Michel Hamelin) I have the best coach in the world, so I should be able to work with him over the Christmas break to improve before the next race,” said Bilodeau, who added, “Hey, it’s duals, anything can happen and you never know until you’re over the finish line. I think my experience was what gave me the edge today.”
Kingsbury explained that the best strategy on a short course is to go as fast as possible at the start to get ahead.
The third place was the 16th consecutive FIS Freestyle World Cup podium for Kingsbury, who retains the yellow bib, although he is now tied in points with Bilodeau after two competitions this season.
“That’s pretty crazy, it’s consistency I think. I’m happy, I don’t think there’s anything magic, to wining 16 medals in a row, I’m just training to do my run every week,” he said.
American Heidi Kloser after her career best result: I really wanted to have a good day and just be happy with the way I was skiing, I didn't want to focus on the results. If I was skiing how I wanted to ski the results would come. I qualified second which is the highest i've ever qualified so I went into finals really excited. I had a bit of a sloppy run against Heather but I'm really happy with my second place finish."
The moguls Freestyle Ski World Cup season continues in Lake Placid (USA) on 17th January 2013.