CALGARY – Mikael Kingsbury and Hannah Kearney continued their dominance of the FIS Freestyle World Cup season on Saturday at Canada Olympic Park.
Kingsbury, of Deux-Montagnes, Que., raced to his fifth straight World Cup win in the men’s moguls competition.
“Right now my skiing is going so great,” said Kingsbury, who finished first with a score of 24.30 ahead of Americans Jeremy Cota (23.94) and Sho Kashima (5.23). “I don’t miss any runs, so I want to continue like that all season.”
Meanwhile Kearney, the American Olympic champion, has now won 12 straight women’s moguls events dating back to last season.
“Today I felt like I was very consistently strong and that’s good news moving forward for the rest of the season,” said Kearney, who won with a score of 24.82 to beat out Montreal’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe (23.11) and fellow American KC Oakley (22.06).
Kingsbury earned a berth in the men’s super final on Saturday afternoon along with Cota, Kashima and Japan’s Sho Endo, who crashed in the midsection of the course and lost one of his skis. Although he put his ski back on and finished the run, Endo wasn’t awarded a score because he took too much time.
Kashima also fell on his run just before his second jump, but managed to cross the finish line to finish third. Wearing a wooden splint on his right leg, Kashima hobbled up to the podium to accept his bronze medal.
“The fact that he crossed the finish line on a knee that was completely unstable, he deserved that podium,” said Kearney.
Kingsbury also admired Kashima’s gritty performance.
“It’s nice to see that he came back on the podium and finished it because I think maybe it’s his last race of the year,” Kingsbury said. “He finished on great note and came up on the podium with us.”
Although she had to watch Kearney accept yet another gold medal, Dufour-Lapointe was pleased to reach the podium once again.
“I think it’s just going to come,” Dufour-Lapointe said in regards to eventually beating Kearney. “I’m still young and it’s my second year on the World Cup (circuit). I think I just need more experience. I’m not stressed about that. It will come.”
For their podium finishes both Kingsbury and Dufour-Lapointe were also both presented with WinSport Canada’s new Sarah Burke Award, named in honour of the Canadian superpipe skier who died last week from injuries sustained in a fall. The award also included a cheque for $5,000.
“I didn’t know we could have that, so yeah, it’s a big honour,” said Kingsbury, who noted that the money will go in his bank account.
All of Canada’s top moguls skiers and aerialists had “SB” stickers put on their helmets in memory of Burke. The aerialists will compete at COP on Sunday.
There was also a moment of silence for Burke prior to Saturday’s moguls event.
“This moment was really important for everyone, I think,” Dufour-Lapointe said. “I think about her before skiing. I said ‘Sarah, I will do my best and I hope you will be happy.’ She was an incredible woman. She was so beautiful. I can’t believe that she’s gone.”
Kearney also admitted to getting emotional during the tribute to Burke.
“I don’t consider myself a particularly emotional person, but I was tearing up in the finish area for the moment of silence,” she said. “Greatness is one of those things that people throw that word around all the time, but she was genuine, both as a human being, and as an athlete.
“I knew her from training in Whistler in the summers — both training and coaching there — and she was the friendliest, most welcoming person I’ve ever met.”
Marc-Antoine Gagnon, of Terrebonne, Que., finished fifth in the men’s moguls event, while Cedric Rochon, of Saint-Sauveur, Que., placed 10th.
Quebec City’s Audrey Robichaud, who finished second at last year’s World Cup event in Calgary, finished fourth on Saturday. Chelsea Henitiuk, of Spruce Grove, Alta., finished in eighth, while Montreal’s Chloe Dufour-Lapointe placed 11th.