Ruka, Finland – History was made today in Ruka, Finland. Mikaël Kingsbury defeated Benjamin Cavet of France in dual moguls by a score of 20-15 to capture the opening World Cup of the FIS Freestyle Ski season.
With the victory, the 23-year-old Kingsbury surpasses Frenchman Edgar Grospiron on the all-time FIS World Cup mogul wins list with 29 victories.
“I’m at a loss for words right now, but I feel amazing,” said Kingsbury. “I wanted to get this record out of the way as quick as I could. We’ve had amazing training here the last couple of days. I was consistent all day and that started with winning our qualifications. Edgar (Grospiron) is a legend. It’s crazy I’ve done all this at 23. I feel like the best is still yet to come for me. I can’t wait to celebrate this here and at home with my family.”
The victory also marked the eighth dual moguls FIS World Cup won by Kingsbury, tying him for the most all-time with another Canadian legend, Alex Bilodeau. The dual moguls event officially became a part of the FIS calendar during the 1995-96 season.
The list of records keeps mounting for Kingsbury. At 21, he became the youngest competitor to reach 20 victories. The native of Deux-Montagnes, QC, was also the youngest to reach 25 victories when he accomplished the feat last season.
“It’s not every day that you beat a record like this,” added Kingsbury. “This is what it must feel like to pass Gretzky in a statistical category. Now I want to extend the record as much as I can and make it untouchable. I’m happy to do this in the first event of the season. I have the yellow bib back too. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my year. I felt like something good was going to happen today. Hopefully I can be just as consistent all season.”
Kingsbury started the day by winning the qualification rounds and seemingly breezed through the competition outscoring his opponents by a wide margin. One of his quickest races came in the semifinal when he was challenged by teammate and close friend, Philippe Marquis (Quebec City, QC). Kingsbury would win that dual 27-8
“It was a pretty good day even though it was a little bit bitter sweet,” said Marquis who entered the event as the defending champion and ultimately finished fourth. “It’s a good start to the year finishing fourth and now I can focus on the next set of events. The entire field skied well today, so I’m glad to know I was near the top.”
Kingsbury has now stood on top of the podium 29 times in 62 events for a remarkable winning percentage of 46.77% and has been on the podium 75.8% of the time or for a total of 47 World Cups.
A four-time Crystal Globe champion, Kingsbury continues to add to his list of his accomplishments in his young career. Kingsbury holds a 2014 Olympic silver medal and six World Championship medals over his career, including two gold medals, three silver medals and a bronze.
“Mik’s been in a great state of mind all week and really fired up for this,” said Marquis. “He’s already a legend and there’s no denying that. I’m proud to be a part of history. We’re such close friends and he’s a role model for all of us.”
“Mikaël is a truly gifted athlete and a gracious champion,” says Bruce Robinson, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association Freestyle CEO. “His performance in Ruka, Finland is another example of his dominance in moguls skiing. Win number 29 is a great accomplishment and clearly places Mikaël in the same category as Olympic Champions Jean-Luc Brassard and Alex Bilodeau.”
Also landing on the podium today was Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) who defeated Hedvig Wessel of Norway 20-15 to finish third. It is the second consecutive podium finish in Ruka for Dufour-Lapointe. Last year the native of Montreal, QC, finished in second place.
“I feel really proud of how my day went because I improved in every single run,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “I’m going to be even more ready next time. My skiing was really clean and I was picking up good speed. It’s a big relief to start this well. Ruka always feels like a magical place for us to ski because the event is so close to Christmas and there’s tons of snow here. I’ve worked hard all summer long and it paid off today.”
Alex-Anne Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC) finished fifth overall as the next highest Canadian female. Andi Naude (Penticton, BC) came in ninth, Justine Dufour-Lapointe(Montreal, QC) in 11th and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC) in 17th. Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City, QC) was unable to compete due to a sprained ankle.
On the men’s side, Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City, QC) finished 10th, Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC) finished 23rd, P.O. Gagné (Montreal, QC) came in 28th, Laurent Dumais (Quebec City, QC) in 35th and Jordan Kober (Calgary, AB) failed to place after not completing his qualification run.