Even weakened by a sudden illness, Mikaël Kingsbury skied to his second victory in as many competitions this season at Saturday’s single moguls World Cup event in Thaiwoo, China.
After winning the moguls event last weekend in Ruka, Finland – the first competition of the 2018-19 FIS World Cup season – Kingsbury took the gold medal in China with a final-run score of 90.31, edging out Japanese opponent Ikuma Horishima (87.68) and Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Reikherd (86.92).
After getting the top score in qualifications, Kingsbury had to settle for second place behind Horishima after the first run of the finals, but bounced back in the end to capture the gold.
“It was a very tough day for me. There’s a gastro bug going around here and I started feeling sick yesterday (Friday),” said Kingsbury after pocketing his 51stcareer World Cup victory and 75thmedal. “I was sick during the night and even lost six pounds! When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel very well but had just enough energy to ski. I was able to come first in qualifications, then I made a few mistakes in the first final round that I didn’t like. But I learned from those mistakes and was able to put in my best run with all the energy I had left.”
By the same token, Kingsbury earned his fifth-straight victory in as many starts in Thaiwoo since 2016. This is the third time the Canadian athletes compete in World Cup competitions at this venue, where several competitions will be held in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“I don’t know what it is about this place,” Kingsbury added. “It appears to be a run that suits me well. There’s also the fact that the level of competition here is high, as it is elsewhere. Skiers like Dmitriy (Reikherd), Ikuma (Horishima) and Ben (Benjamin Cavet of France, who finished fourth on Saturday) push me to do my best.”
“Our work’s not done yet,” said Kingsbury. “I’ll get some rest, then talk with the coaches about my day and get ready. It will be the first dual moguls event of the season so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll need to be ready because the duels will be very fast.”
The other Canadian skier in the men’s finals, Brenden Kelly, finished 10th.
On the women’s side, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe finished fifth with 72.79 points in a competition won by American skier Jaelin Kauf (83.08).
The Asian continent also seems to suit Dufour-Lapointe, whose fifth-place showing stands as her best single moguls result since finishing fifth at the World Cup in Tazawako, Japan in February 2017.
A dual mogul event will take place on Sunday in Thaiwoo, the first contest of its kind this season but also the last leg of the World Cup for the mogul athletes before the Christmas holidays.
Canadian athletes’ results:
Men: Mikaël Kingsbury (1), Brenden Kelly (10), Gabriel Dufresne (18), Laurent Dumais (20), Kerrian Chunlaud (25), Simon Lemieux (43)
Women: Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (5), Sofiane Gagnon (18), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (DNF)
Upcoming events (December):
FIS World Cup – December 20-22: Secret Garden, China (halfpipe)