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Anthony and Horishima claim moguls titles on the first day of action in Almaty

Mar 08, 2024·Freestyle
© Andrey Kulagin / KSA
© Andrey Kulagin / KSA

The FIS Freestyle World Cup event in Almaty commenced with flair on Friday, marking the finale of the single moguls season in a manner that will be remembered for years. Jakara Anthony (AUS) etched her name in history on the women’s side, while Ikuma Horishima (JPN) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) engaged in a riveting battle for the moguls crystal globe, the likes of which we haven't witnessed in a considerable time.

The day was once again dominated by Jakara Anthony, who, despite having secured the moguls World Cup title a few weeks prior, showed no signs of complacency. She soared to her career's 20th victory, marking her 12th win of the season and breaking Hannah Kearney’s all-time record for the most victories in a single season. This victory was a spectacular way to celebrate her fourth World Cup title.

Alli Macuga (USA) claimed second place, achieving her second career top-3 finish and her first in single moguls.

The podium was completed by Hannah Soar (USA) in third place, in what was a poignant moment for the American skier at the finish area. The event in Almaty could potentially be the last moguls World Cup for the 24-year-old, as she contemplates retiring at the end of the season to pursue a career in business.

With the single moguls season drawing to a close, Jakara Anthony was awarded the small crystal globe, a testament to her dominance with seven wins in eight competitions throughout the 2023/24 single moguls season. Jaelin Kauf (USA) secured second place overall, with Olivia Giaccio finishing in third, both athletes concluding a remarkably successful moguls campaign.

The men's competition was a battle for the ages between Ikuma Horishima and Mikael Kingsbury, reminiscent of the fiercely contested race for the moguls globes in 2014, when Kingsbury narrowly edged out his teammate Alex Bilodeau by only 11 points.

Entering Friday's competition, Horishima held a 30-point lead in the standings, setting the stage for Kingsbury to give his all in a bid to challenge for the title. Kingsbury, skiing second-to-last in the big final, delivered an extraordinary run, scoring 84.89 points to secure his career's 88th World Cup victory on the day.

However, Horishima, as the final athlete of the day, executed an equally impressive run. Although his 83.48 points did not clinch the top spot, the runner-up finish emphatically capped off what has been an outstanding campaign for the Japanese mogul skier. After finishing behind Kingsbury in the season's final standings on eight previous occasions, Horishima finally claimed his first World Cup title by a narrow margin of only 10 points.

Matt Graham (AUS) completed the podium in third place on the day, while Sweden’s Filip Gravenfors secured third in the moguls final standings, showcasing remarkable progress in just his second World Cup season.

The FIS Freestyle World Cup action in Almaty is set to continue on Sunday with the dual moguls event. The preliminary rounds are scheduled for 11:25 local time, with the finals once again set for 13:30.

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