Bilodeau reigns supreme again to retain men’s moguls crown
Canada’s Alex Bilodeau retained his men’s moguls title with a remarkable display under the Rosa Khutor floodlights on Monday evening.
The freestyle skier was awarded a near unmatchable score of 26.31, a full 1.6 points ahead of his compatriot Mikael Kingsbury, who took silver.
Despite Canada’s domination in this event, there was also satisfaction for host nation Russia, with Alexandr Smyshlyaev’s score of 24.34 just edging out Marc-Antoine Gagnon for bronze and preventing a clean sweep for the North American country.
Bilodeau became the first moguls skier to defend an Olympic title after an almost flawless final run that saw him fend off the challenge of reigning world champion Kingsbury, who was effectively ruled out of contention for gold by a couple of small mistakes.
It was a devastating performance from Bilodeau, who saved his best until last after qualifying in third place for the final run of six competitors, landing superbly after each of a series of complex jumps.
"I’m delighted with the way I finished,” said the two-time champion, who intends to retire at the end of this season. “I’m going to be going out in the best way possible.”
Source of inspiration
Bilodeau then paid tribute to his older brother, Frederic, who suffers from cerebral palsy and warmly embraced him after his victory.
“My brother is a daily source of inspiration for me,” he said. “Like I often say, if he had been able to live my life, he would have become a triple Olympic champion.”
He also had warm words for his fellow Quebec native, Kingsbury – predicting a glittering future for his 21 year-old team-mate.
"Canadian freestyle has a bright future,” he predicted. “There are lots of young skiers who are making their mark and I’m happy to share the podium with one of them. This guy is going to win everything out there when I go.”
Smyshlyaev’s second run included some eye-catching turns, securing a deserved medal for the 26 year-old – who finished tenth in Vancouver four years ago.