The World of Sport has always been elevated by great rivalries: Hockey has the Canadians/Maple Leafs, Tennis had Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, and boxing had Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Canada’s Freestyle Ski Team can now add their own heavyweights to this mix.
Enter Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau. Both mogul skiers, both products of Quebec’s Mont Saint Sauveur, and both World Cup winners. Together they are elevating the sport to heights no one has ever seen. “In fact these guys are so dominant that currently, they are creating a world of their own,” says David Mirota High Performance Director.
Today in Ruka, Finland, a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle, Kingsbury stood atop the podium with 26.93 pts. Bilodeau was in 2nd spot with 26.54 and Sho Kashima of Japan in third with 25.24.
“I love Ruka,” said Kingsbury moments after his victory. “I had my first World Cup podium here in 2010. Now I have four podiums in four events.”
Kingsbury and Bilodeau were neck and neck going into the Super Final round. They are the only two skiers on the circuit to perform a back double full and a cork 1080 in competition. The two most difficult jumps.
Bilodeau nailed his run and had a seemingly unbeatable score. Fully aware was Kingsbury in the starting gate. “I knew the only way I could beat him was with speed. It was the best run of my life. I was totally in the zone and the run was exactly as I had visualized it in my head.”
Canadian Male Finalists included Philippe Marquis (Quebec City) in 10th place and Pascal-Olivier Gagné (Montreal, QC) in 12th
On the women’s side, Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) came 2nd showcasing her new jump, a 360 mute grab. In first place was American Hannah Kearney, the World Cup and Olympic Champion and still the woman to beat. In 3rd spot was Aiko Uemura of Japan.
“My 360 mute is a new jump. I worked on it all summer until it became natural for me. Doing it in finals today made me feel like now, I own that jump.”
Dufour-Lapointe was 7th in the qualification run. “I was really conservative with my first run. It was the first race of the season and I was a bit nervous. But, after that, I let myself go and gave it my all.”
All Canadian women made finals. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) in 5th position. Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City, QC) in 9th place. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) in 14th. Andi Naude came 16th. Bilodeau, Kingsbury and Justine Dufour-Lapointe have their Olympic berth solidified. Everyone else is still in contention through January. Next stop on the tour; January 4, 2014 in Calgary.