Third straight win for Bilodeau
Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau made it three consecutive World Cup victories on Sunday, winning the freestyle skiing event in Val Saint-Come (CAN) to set down another marker ahead of Sochi 2014.
The Canadian, men’s moguls winner in Vancouver four years ago, won narrowly from countryman Mikael Kingsbury, finishing 0.83 points ahead of his rival on 26.49. A third straight win for Bilodeau matched Kingsbury’s achievement from earlier in the season and extended his overall leads in the moguls and freestyle rankings. The pair look likely to be contesting a close battle for gold in Sochi next month.
The USA’s Bradley Wilson finished third, securing his second podium of the week, with Finland’s Ville Miettunen making a career-best fourth position.
Canadian sisters Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe dominated the women’s event – with Chloe, the elder of the two at 22, fending off her sibling to win a World Cup event for the first time. There was another first for Japan’s Junko Hoshino, who edged out Olympic champion and overall World Cup leader Hannah Kearney to claim third place. It was Hoshino’s first career podium at this level, and only her second top-ten finish. The freestyle World Cup now heads to Kreischberg (AUT) this weekend, for the final event ahead of Sochi.
Prior and Parrot take first slopestyle victories
New Zealander Christy Prior clinched her first snowboard slopestyle gold in Stoneham (CAN) on Sunday, in the final World Cup event before Sochi 2014.
A strong second run earned Prior 89.75 points, which was enough to beat second-placed Cheryl Maas (NED). Austria’s Anna Gasser, who led after the first run, finished third.
An elated Prior said: “Thank goodness I landed on my feet! It feels really good to put down a run and win that competition. I’ve done a few competitions this season and this is my first comp that I landed a run, I’m just relieved.”
Local favourite Maxence Parrot secured a first World Cup win of his own in the men’s competition, shooting to the top of the overall rankings by holding off the challenge of Sweden’s Niklas Mattsson to take gold. The 19 year-old’s score of 94.50 points saw him finish an impressive eight points ahead of his rival, with Norwegian Torgeir Bergrem in third.
Jamaican bobsleigh team set for Sochi
After a 12-year absence, the Jamaica’s bobsleigh team is set for a return to the Olympic arena – entering the two-man competition after their qualification was confirmed at the weekend.
Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon earned the right to compete in Sochi after finishing in 39th position at the end of the qualifying period. In total, 30 teams are permitted to compete at the Olympic Winter Games, but with nine of those finishing ahead of them coming from nations which had already qualified the maximum number of three sleds, the Caribbean nation can now look forward to a first appearance since Salt Lake City 2002.
Jamaica’s first appearance at the Games in this event came at Calgary 1988, and they have had bobsleigh team at four subsequent editions. Veteran competitor Watts made his Olympic debut in Lillehammer in 1994 – the year on which the team achieved its best finish, coming 14th.
Information on tickets for Sochi 2014 is available here: http://www.olympic.org/news/sochi-2014-olympic-winter-games-tickets/190291