Moguls World Cup heads into the homestretch in Tazawako
Tazawako, JPN - The second-to-last stop on the 2016/17 FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup tour will take place this weekend in Tazawako (JPN), with a full weekend of action seeing moguls competition on Saturday, February 18th, and dual moguls on Sunday, February 19th.
This will be the third season that Tazawako has acted as host for the annual Japanese moguls World Cup event, and both previous incarnations were great successes with enthusiastic crowds on hand to take in tight competition on the dynamic Tazawako course.
Last season in Tazawako we saw four different winners across the two ladies’ and two men’s competitions. Ladies action saw Perrine Laffont (FRA) take her first career win in the single moguls competition and veteran Deborah Scanzio (SUI) getting the sole victory of her 14-year World Cup career in the duals, while for the men Bradley Wilson (USA) and Mikael Kingsbury took the singles and duals wins, respectively.
With that win, along with his other four this season, Kingsbury is once again running away with the moguls World Cup title, holding 620 points to next-best Ben Cavet’s (FRA) 372. With this lead, the Canadian is all but assured of his sixth consecutive moguls crystal globe.
Meanwhile, Kingsbury’s counterpart in domination on the ladies’ side is Britt Cox (AUS) who, though not totally in the clear with 605 points to second-overall Justine Dufour-Lapointe’s (CAN) 434, is in a strong position to take the first-ever moguls title for the Australian ladies’ squad.
Both Kingsbury and Cox come into Tazawako fresh off wins at the Olympic test event last weekend in Phoenix Park, Korea, and will no doubt be riding high after triumphing on the course where competition for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will go down next year.
With less than a month left in the World Cup season, it’s time also to start looking at the Freestyle Skiing overall World Cup standings, where each athlete’s points totals are divided by the number of competitions entered in the season to give an average score against which all other athletes can be compared fairly. Looking at the 2016/17 overall rankings, it’s once again the moguls masters sitting head and shoulders above the rest.
With 605 points in seven events thus far, Cox’s overall score of 86.43 puts her well clear of second place ski cross athlete Marielle Thompson (CAN), all but assuring the Aussie of the biggest trophy in Freestyle.
Should she hold on to take the overall globe (which last season was won by halfpipe and slopestyle skier Devin Logan of the USA) it will be a truly remarkable accomplishment for the 22-year-old skier whose previous best rankings at season-end were 14th in moguls in 2013/14, and 57th on the overall list in 2014/15. However, it should be noted that Cox has never completed a full World Cup season due to strategic training and competition programs implemented by the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.
Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Kingsbury shows no signs of slowing down as he barrels towards what should be a record-setting sixth-straight season of taking the moguls and Freestyle overall titles. With an overall points total of 88.57, Kingsbury is more than 16 points up on aerials skier Qi Guangpu (CHN).
While Kingsbury already has the most consecutive overall titles of any man in FIS Freestyle history, with another win this season he will surpass Eric Laboureix (FRA) and take sole possession of the most men’s overall wins all-time, with only the great Conny Kissling (SUI) ahead of him for most titles in FIS Freestyle history. While Kissling’s 10-straight overall globes is a little ways off in the distance for Kingsbury right now, it’s not unfathomable that he may get there in four years’ time.
Single moguls competition in Tazawako gets underway on Saturday with ladies qualifications beginning at 9:45, then men’s qualifications at 11:35, and finals at 13:30. Sunday’s dual moguls competition will see preliminary heats beginning at 12:05 and the final heats squaring off at 13:30.
Tazawako data page (live scoring, results)