Heil and Begg-Smith take mogul wins in Calgary
Canadian native and defending Olympic champion Dale Begg-Smith, now skiing for Australia, took the men's win while another defending Olympic mogul champion Jenn Heil (CAN), collected the 22nd World Cup victory of her career, in Canada Post Freestyle Grand Prix mogul action as part of the FIS Freestyle World Cup held at Canada Olympic Park on Friday.
Heil won the first World Cup staged in her native Alberta in 20 years. And she did so in convincing fashion, before the 2010 Olympic Games judging panel and after placing third in the qualifying round.
"Honestly, I feel better than ever. I feel like I've won the lottery, to be able to compete at home," said Heil, 26, about the excitement of skiing before family members and so many friends from the Edmonton and Calgary areas.
After placing fifth and third in her first World Cups of the season last month, she said she wasn't skiing in a high enough gear.
"I've really tried to do that, to continue to increase the gear, but I'm not in my top gear yet," she added, alluding to the fact that she's building for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Nikola Sudova of the Czech Republic placed second, while veteran Margarita Marbler of Austria took third.
The winner of the qualifying round, Kristi Richards (CAN) placed sixth, to remain atop the overall moguls standings and hold on to the yellow leader's bib - just ahead of Heil.
Several skiers downgraded their jumps on the challenging Calgary course.
"I kind of like it when it's rough, with the moguls small and sharp," said Vincent Marquis, who took 2nd in the men's event and posted the highest air scores of the finalists.
"I don't remember the last time I was that nervous, but I just tried to remember that I'm doing it because I like it."
Third place went to Russian Alexandr Smyshlyaev ahead of Guilbaut Colas of France and the two-time Suomu winner Jesper Bjoernlund of Sweden who retained his yellow leader's jersey.
Action resumes with another mogul event at Canada Olympic Park Saturday.