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Anthony and Kingsbury clinch World Cup globes in Valmalenco finale

Mar 16, 2024·Freestyle
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As the curtain fell on the 2023/24 FIS Freestyle World Cup season, the picturesque slopes of Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy, were the stage for a spectacular finale on Saturday, March 16. Following a globe-trotting tour that spanned nearly four months, the competition made its eagerly anticipated return to Europe, culminating in an electrifying showdown on the "Dosso" course at Alpe Palu. With its rich history of hosting premier FIS competitions, Valmalenco once again proved to be the perfect backdrop for the season's climax, welcoming athletes and fans to a venue that has become a cornerstone of the winter sports world.

This year's return to Chiesa in Valmalenco was especially significant, marking the venue's resurgence as a pivotal stop on the World Cup circuit, particularly for the dual moguls competition, which made its first appearance here since 2008, just two years ago. The anticipation was palpable as athletes prepared to confront the challenges of the "Dosso" course, setting the stage for a day filled with intense competition and memorable performances.

The competition delivered in spades, showcasing moments of sheer brilliance and athletic excellence. Jakara Anthony stood out, clinching her 14th victory of the season and completing an extraordinary moguls hat-trick. Her triumph in Chiesa in Valmalenco secured the dual moguls globe, the overall moguls globe, and, complementing her earlier success, the single moguls globe from Almaty. Anthony's season has been nothing short of phenomenal, a testament to her dominance in the sport and her ability to perform at the highest level when it matters most. Adding to her impressive record this season, Jakara Anthony earned exactly 192,750.00 CHF in prize money, setting a new record for any athlete across both freestyle and snowboard disciplines.

Jaelin Kauf's resilience and competitive spirit also shone brightly throughout the season. Finishing as the runner-up in all three moguls rankings, Kauf's performances were a season highlight, showcasing the fierce competition and camaraderie that define the moguls skiing community. Remarkably, Kauf secured the second spot for the ninth time this season.

Elizabeth Lemley (USA) took third place on the day, while Olivia Giaccio (USA) rounded out the podium in both dual moguls and overall moguls standings, celebrating an extraordinary season that marks the best in the 23-year-old's career thus far.

On the men's side, Mikael Kingsbury continued to redefine greatness, sealing his 90th World Cup victory in style and setting a personal record with 10 wins in a single season. Not only did he take home both the dual moguls and the overall moguls World Cup titles, but he also added his 25th and 26th crystal globes to an already legendary collection.

A special mention goes to Japan's Takuya Shimakawa, who achieved his first-ever top-3 finish today, and to USA’s Nick Page, who secured his third top-3 finish of the season, confirming his status as the best male US skier on tour.

The competition was not without its tense moments, as Benjamin Cavet experienced a hard crash in his semi-final heat against Shimakawa. Fortunately, initial assessments suggest that the French rider did not sustain any major injuries, though he was transported to the hospital for further check-ups. We wish Ben a speedy recovery and will keep you updated on his condition.

With the men’s season also concluding, Ikuma Horishima (JPN) secured second place in both dual moguls and overall moguls standings. In dual moguls, third place went to Rasmus Stegfeldt (SWE), with his teammate Filip Gravenfors rounding out the top-3 in the overall moguls standings, signalling a strong statement from the Swedish Moguls Team with both athletes delivering superb performances in just their second full season on the World Cup tour.

The season’s final event also saw the Rookie of the Year awards being presented to Japan’s Shiori Asano and Canada’s Louise-David Chalifoux, while the Nations Cup was awarded to Team USA.

As the sun set on Chiesa in Valmalenco, the 2023/24 moguls season concluded on a high note, leaving fans and athletes in awe of the incredible talent and dedication displayed throughout the tour. The finale in Valmalenco was not merely a conclusion but a celebration of the spirit of freestyle skiing, setting a high bar for future seasons.

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