The year 2014 has been a successful and exciting year in freestyle skiing. From dominating the podium in several events to the addition of two new disciplines on the Olympian stage, Canadian freestyle athletes are proving why they are some of the best. Here’s a look back to some of 2014 most memorable moments.
Canada’s New Sweethearts
The Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) sisters have been making their mark on the moguls scene for the last couple years, but it was in 2014 that all of Canada got to know them a little better.
Alex Bilodeau (Rosemère, QC) became a household name in 2010 as the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in 2010. In 2014 he made history against when he became the first mogul skier to defend his title, earning his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in Sochi. Mikael Kingsbury (Deux-Montagnes, QC), another Canadian favourite and World Cup leader at the time, came in second after out-skiing Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlaev. Right off the podium was Marc-Antoine Gagnon Terrebonne, QC), giving Canada three out of the top-four finishes at the 2014 Winter Games.
The Sochi Winter Olympics brought the debut of two new freestyle disciplines, halfpipe and slopestyle. Canadian athletes proved to be powerhouses in these new events. Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON) will go down in history as the first women’s Olympic slopestyle gold medallist after a spectacular run that placed her in front of the pack. Teammate Kim Lamarre (Lac-Beauport, QC) took bronze in the event. The moment was extra special for Lamarre who had returned to form after a serious knee injury.
Half pipe also made its grand debut in Sochi. The skiers battled through heavy snowfall and sticky conditions as they made their way down the pipe, pulling off exhilarating tricks. Mike Riddle (Sherwood Park, AB) took home a silver medal after back-to-back double corks, and maintaining his speed and control in the less than ideal conditions.
The World Cup King Remains on Top
Mikael Kingsbury of Quebec has been a serious player on the World Cup scene for several years. In 2014, Kingsbury would capture his third consecutive Crystal Globe as the best FIS moguls skier of the year. Kingsbury would finish the season with nine top-3 finishes and now has a total of 38 career podiums, leaving him just 10 shy of matching the all-time record set by Alex Bilodeau.
X Games Dominance
The popularity of the X Games helped push the freestyle skiing events of slopestyle and halfpipe into the international scene. Something that always bode well for Canadians. The 2014 X Games proved to be no different with Montreal’s Kaya Turski dominating in the slopestye event to win gold, and was closely followed onto the podium by teammates Kim Lamarre who finished in third and Dara Howell in fourth. These ladies were followed onto the podium by another female skier after Calgary’s Rosalind Groenewoud took silver in halfpipe.
Returning to the Podium Once More
Quebec’s Philippe Marquis captured first place at the dual moguls FIS World Cup season opener. Marquis captured first for the first time in three years after defeating Japan’s Sho Endo in a dual moguls event in Ruka, Finland. A fantastic way to open the 2014-2015 season and hopefully a sign of many great things to come for our freestyle athletes.
While this great year comes to a close, it is in promise of yet another to come. There will be many events to look forward to and challenges ahead, it is no doubt that our Canadian athletes will be more than ready to make their nation proud.
By Megan Bilton
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The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association is the governing body in Canada for the sport of Freestyle Skiing. With the support of its valued corporate along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the CFSA develops Olympic and world champions in all disciplines of the sport.