Canadian Mikael Kingsbury saved his best performance until last to win the gold medal at Phoenix Park in the at PyeongChang2018 freestyle skiing men’s moguls on Monday 12 February.
Kingsbury, who finished with a silver medal in this event at Sochi 2014, finally won the only title to have eluded him with a huge score of 86.63.
Six-time world champion Kingsbury displayed excellent control with his tricks and turns in the opening and middle sections, and then managed to control his second jump and landing to register an impressive score. The 25-year-old celebrated at the line with a first pump to suggest he believed he had done enough to finish first, with one other skier, Japan’s Daichi Hara, still to compete.
Canada’s golden streak continues
Kingsbury finished first ahead of Australian Matt Graham, who had earlier landed a cork 10 to register a score of 82.57 with three athletes to go. Graham’s score earned him a silver medal, while Daichi Hara claimed the bronze.
Kingsbury’s victory extended Canadian dominance of this event, after compatriot Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold medals at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
“I've dreamed about this since I was eight years old,” admitted an ecstatic Kingsbury. “I’ve just realised my dream and it's the best day of my life. I've won so many World Cups in my career but, you know, winning this one... it's one night every four years, and I've been able to win it. For the rest of my life I will be Olympic champion."
The Canadian admitted he felt huge pressure going into the final, and that he was relieved he managed to achieve a polished performance.
“I was super nervous,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I am so proud of the way I managed it. I have never been nervous like that in my life, but once I clipped on my goggles I was just focused on doing my job. The judges were rewarding some really clean skiing and I feel like I was clean all day. I can't believe it worked out."
Graham ‘stoked’ for silver
Silver medallist Graham was complimentary of the man that beat him to gold, andextremely proud of his own performance. “He [Kingsbury] put down an amazing run when it counted and credit to him, he’s an amazing athlete,” said the Australian. “The ability to put down run after run the way he does is second to none. No one can do it like he can.
“This has been a super fun night and what I've dreamt of as a kid,” he continued. “I was loose and having fun, and when I'm having fun I'm skiing the best. I'm stoked. Landing that bottom air, I was just able to just stick at it and come across the line. Once I did that I knew I'd done enough to at least get a medal.”