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Mikael KINGSBURY

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Canada’s moguls maestro

Since making his debut on the world stage in 2010, Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury has broken record after record in the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup, winning six consecutive overall titles and racking up an unprecedented 42 wins. A silver medallist at Sochi 2014, all that now remains is to win Olympic gold.

A local speciality

Learning to ski on the slopes of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains seems to be a foolproof formula for Olympic success. The Canadian province is home to a long line of freestyle champions such as Jean-Luc Brassard, Olympic mogul champion at Lillehammer 1994; Alexandre Bilodeau, two-time Olympic champion at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014; and the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, who scored a one-two at Sochi 2014. Hoping to continue that proud Olympic tradition is Mikael Kingsbury, the latest mogul magician to roll off Quebec’s prolific production line.

Fast learner 
From the moment he burst onto the international scene at the age of just 18, Kingsbury had Olympic glory in his sights: “[My aim is] to win gold in Sochi in 2014,” he pledged. With his maiden moguls victory in Beida Lake (CHN) on 21 December 2010 he became the youngest ever winner of an FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup event, the prelude to a series of remarkable results that would make him world No1.

On top of the world 
The Canadian was 19 when he won his first freestyle and overall World Cup titles in 2012. He repeated the feat the following season and in the process set a new record of 19 consecutive top-three finishes, including 13 wins, between 10 December 2011 and 23 February 2013. “I don’t know how to explain my success,” he said. “I work hard at the gym and on my skis. Every time I enter a competition, my aim is to win it, and I really do enjoy what I do. I would imagine that it’s a combination of all these factors that enables me to get good results. I’m a perfectionist when I ski. I always want to be perfect, and I’m able to fully focus on what I’m doing for long periods.”

Bilodeau’s successor 
Kingsbury’s sudden emergence motivated the 2010 Olympic champion Bilodeau to push himself,  with both men taking the moguls discipline to a new dimension during the 2013/14 season. With a perfect descent and some spellbinding acrobatics, it was Bilodeau who prevailed when the two squared off in the Olympic final in Sochi, retaining his Olympic title with a total of 26.31 points. Virtually flawless in the air, Kingsbury was less precise on the moguls and scored 24.71, good enough only for silver. Announcing his retirement afterwards, Bilodeau said: “Canadian freestyle skiing has a big future. There are a lot of youngsters coming through and I’m delighted to share the podium with one of them. When I go Mikael’s going to win every competition he enters.” 

Untouchable 
Bilodeau has since been proved right. Extremely fast and accurate on the moguls, Kingsbury is also an artist in the air, with his perfectly executed “Cork 1080” off-axis spin invariably giving him the edge over the competition. The young Canadian followed up his first Olympic medal by continuing to dominate the World Cup scene, making it six overall and mogul doubles in a row by claiming four more large and small crystal globes between 2014 and 2017 to become the most successful freestyle skier of all time. The winner of nine events in 2014, seven in 2015, seven in 2016 and 10 in 2017, Kingsbury has amassed an unprecedented 42 victories and 63 podium finishes in total. 

Warming up for PyeongChang 
Kingsbury is also the only skier to have recorded a double in moguls and dual moguls at the same event, a feat he has achieved twice: in Deer Valley (USA) in 2015 and in Thaiwoo (CHN) in 2017. The record-breaking run of seven straight wins that he then compiled between January and February 2017 included victory in the pre-Olympic test event in PyeongChang. “It’s great to get all this information and move ahead to the Olympic Games,” he said after his victory in the Republic of Korea. “And it’s fantastic to be on top of the podium. I want to try and repeat it next year.” 

Setbacks in Spain 
While Kingsbury has enjoyed the kind of dominance few athletes can hope to achieve, there have been setbacks along the way. A two-time world champion (in the moguls in 2013 and the dual moguls in 2015), he had relatively little to show for his efforts at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in Sierra Nevada (ESP). After winning bronze in the moguls behind Japan’s Ikuma Horishima and France’s Benjamin Cavet, the Canadian was knocked out by Horishima in the last 16 of the dual moguls and eventually placed 13th. “I love pressure, but there’s even more when people expect you to win the whole time,” he said. “Whenever I don’t win, I get the feeling that people think I’ve had a bad race.” That bronze in Spain was his seventh medal in consecutive world championship events since 2011, a sequence and medal total that no other freestyle skier can match. All that remains for Kingsbury to win is Olympic gold, which he will hope to finally get his hands on at PyeongChang 2018.

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Freestyle Skiing - Men's Moguls - Medallists

Mikael Kingsbury of the Canada (Silver Medallist), Alex Bilodeau of the Canada (Gold Medallist) and Alexandr Smyshlyaev (Bronze Medalist) of the Russia celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's Moguls Freestyle Skiing.
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Freestyle Skiing - Moguls Men - Medallists

(L-R) Silver medalist Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, gold medalist Alex Bilodeau of Canada and Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia celebrate on the podium during the flower ceremony for the Men's Moguls Finals
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Freestyle Skiing - Moguls Men - Medallists

(L-R) Silver medalist Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, gold medalist Alex Bilodeau of Canada and Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia celebrate on the podium during the flower ceremony for the Men's Moguls Finals
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Freestyle Skiing - Moguls Men - Mickael Kingsbury - Canada - Silver Medallist

Mikael Kingsbury of Canada competes in the Men's Moguls Finals
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Freestyle Skiing - Moguls Men - Mickael Kingsbury - Canada - Silver Medallist

Mikael Kingsbury of Canada competes in the Men's Moguls Qualification
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