Canada's Kingsbury back on top of podium with gold at home course

By The Canadian Press
January 26, 2019 - 1:15pm

MONT-TREMBLANT, Que. — Canadian Mikael Kingsbury landed back on top of the podium Saturday, winning gold at a moguls World Cup race after a disappointing performance a week earlier.

Kingsbury, the reigning Olympic champion, scored 86.73 points on his home course to rebound from a fifth-place finish last week in Lake Placid, N.Y., that halted his perfect start to the season.

The victory was the first for the Deux-Montagnes, Que., native at Mont-Tremblant.

"I'm pretty relieved," said Kingsbury. "It wasn't easy. The guys pushed me right to the end. I haven't looked at the video, but I know I have some things to correct.

"We'll celebrate this one and prepare for the World Championships in two weeks."

Japan's Ikuma Horishima was second in the six-man final with 85.02 points while Dmitriy Reikherd of Kazakhstan was third with 83.42.

Kingsbury was looking for a little redemption, having lost to Horishima last year at the same event.

"He's so good here (at Mont Tremblant)," Kingsbury said of Horishima. "I have all the respect in the world for that guy. He pushes me every day."

Last weekend's loss didn't sit well with Kingsbury, but he was able to use that as motivation heading into Saturday's race.

"It wasn't so much about redemption as it was about doing my job and not getting unnerved by what the others were going to do," Kingsbury said. "They pushed me on every run. The guys skied really well, but being able to have success with the added pressure of wanting to perform here at home feels good."

On the women's side, 2018 Olympic silver medallist Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal won bronze. Perrine Laffont of France won the event while Australia's Jakara Anthony took silver.

Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was fourth.

Laffont scored 75.51 points for her seventh moguls World Cup victory.

Kingsbury's World Cup victory was the 54th of his career. He remains on pace to claim the Crystal Globe as the season champion for an eighth straight year.

The top 16 in qualifying advanced to the final, from which the top six gained entry to the super-final.

Quebec City's Philippe Marquis and Laurent Dumais and Pemberton, B.C.'s Brenden Kelly advanced to the final, but finished ninth, 10th and 15th, respectively, leaving Kingsbury as the lone Canadian representative in the super-final.

Coming into Saturday's race, Justine Dufour-Lapointe's best result this season had been a fifth place finish in Thaiwoo in December. She won the event last year at Mont Tremblant, giving the 24-year-old added incentive.

"I cried a few tears after this one," she said. "This meant so many things for me. It's been one of the hardest starts of the season having to deal with an injury and to now be back on the podium, in front of my family and friends, is the best gift I could have given myself."

Dufour-Lapointe suffered a right shoulder injury six weeks ago, but said she finally feels like she has recovered and can focus on moving forward.

"I accomplished exactly what I wanted today," she added. "I'm motivated more than ever and my confidence is high heading into World Championships."

Sister Chloe was happy with her run as well and is focused on improving as the season progresses.

"It's my best result this season," she said. "I'm pleased with myself and what I did. I pushed myself."

Whistler, B.C.'s Sofiane Gagnon finished eighth, while Saskatoon's Maia Schwinghammer was 15th.

The world freestyle ski championship runs Feb. 1-10 in Deer Valley, Utah.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press

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