The Canadian National Mogul and Aerial Teams wrapped up their week-long visit here with a Europa Cup mogul event today.
Deux-Montagnes, Que. native Mikael Kingsbury, one of only three Canadians to compete on the 2014 Olympic course, continued his remarkable season by winning the event with a score of 25.68 over Russian brothers Sergey and Andrey Volkov who were second and third at 24.91 and 24.22, respectively.
Canadian Marc-Antoine Gagnon, from Terrebonne, Que. was a close fourth at 23.31 on the very snowy course; Philippe Marquis of Quebec City was 15th after he hit a chunk of ice and fell following his second jump in the finals.
Rosemere, Quebec’s Alex Bilodeau was not feeling well and did not compete. Nor did any of the Canadian women, opting instead to save their competitive energy for the three remaining FIS World Cup stops on this year’s tour. However, they all had a lot of opportunity to train on the Olympic mogul course –- which is 28 degrees and approximately 240 meters, a little flatter and shorter than the majority of World Cup courses.
The visit to Sochi was not really about the Europa Cup event, rather it was a chance for Canadian 2014 freestyle prospects and their support teams to familiarize themselves with the sites and the climate at Rosa Khutor, the host venue for the freestyle, alpine and sliding events at the Sochi Games.
In this respect, the trip was a huge success.
“This was a very difficult week weather-wise, which was excellent for us,” said Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge.
“It was the worst of Nagano (Japan) and Cypress (Vancouver) all rolled into one. There was sun, fog and pounding wet snow.
“In this sense it was a crucial learning experience for our team, just to have it in their heads what this place is all about makes the experience far less onerous for anyone who might be tripped up easily by changing conditions.”
The Canadian contingent was also impressed with the venues and security setup in Sochi. “They’re in very good shape,” concluded Judge about the Russian organizing committee.
Kingsbury echoed Judge’s sentiments. He said, “It’s good to compete here. It’s hard here with the changing snow conditions every day, every single training day had completely different conditions.
“I’m happy we competed even if it was a push because of our busy schedule. And, winning today is for sure good for my confidence. Now I know the course and I know that I can win on it and I know it will be hard with the weather. So all of that is good for the Olympics.”
The Canadian mogul team next competes at an FIS World Cup competition in Are, Sweden on March 9 and 10.
The Canadian Aerial Team now moves to downtown Moscow for a World Cup on a man-made scaffolding in the centre of the city on March 10.