Heil and Begg-Smith double up in Calgary
Defending Olympic moguls champions Jenn Heil (CAN) and Dale Begg-Smith (AUS) took their second victories in as many days in Calgary on Saturday as FIS Freestyle World Cup continued with another moguls event.
Heil, 26, is also feeling better and better about how she's competing, despite the challenges a defending Olympic champion inevitably faces in the month or so before a potential repeat Olympic-gold performance.
"I dealt with a lot of pressure in 2006. But I've grown up a lot since then," she said. "I've had the opportunity to have a lot of opportunities outside of sport. And I have an amazing team behind me."
Heil, who now lives in Montreal, also continues to focus on improving her skiing, no less so after seeing "a few holes" in Friday's winning performance, upon reviewing the video. Scores were a lot higher in the finals Saturday, so Heil knew she had to be better.
"It was a very, very high-scoring final," said Heil, who won the qualification round with a score of 23.71, compared to the next best run of 23.11 for American Heather McPhie.
Heil's score of 24.94 in the final put Aiko Uemura of Japan second in 24.03 and Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic third in 23.90. McPhie was fourth for the second straight day.
Kristi Richards of Canada led the overall World Cup moguls standings after placing sixth Friday. But she finished 28th Saturday, and now sits second overall. Her 223 points trail Heil's leading total of 305.
In the men's final, Canadian native Dale Begg-Smith, who now competes for Australia, produced the fastest final to help clinch the win. Alex Bilodeau of Canada rebounded from placing 16th Friday when his ski came off mid-run. Bilodeau was the week's fastest skier in the qualifying rounds, but felt he was out of control. In contrast, Begg-Smith's time of 21.90 seconds was a half-second faster than fifth-place Anthony Benna of France.
"Dale really did a smoking run. He deserved to win," said Bilodeau, who was happy with his own game plan. Bilodeau, 22, had the sixth-fastest time of 23.00 and second-highest air scores after doing a double-twisting double flip.
Bilodeau's final score was 24.70, compared to 25.25 for Begg-Smith. Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia scored 24.42 for his second third place finish in two days.
Begg-Smith leads the men's overall moguls standings with 295 points. Jesper Bjoernlund of Sweden is second and Bilodeau third, with 281 and 205 points respectively.
Action resumes with aerials Sunday.