Kingsbury/Robichaud win Japan mogul World Cup
INAWASHIRO, JAPAN (February 22, 2013) – Canada rocked the bumps on one of the toughest mogul courses in the world here today, earning a total our four medals – two gold and two bronze – at the eighth stop of the 2013 FIS Freestyle mogul World Cup tour.
Mikael Kingsbury and Audrey Robichaud landed on the top of their fields after charging down the 30-degree course. Teammates Alex Bilodeau and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe both added to the Canadian coffers, earning bronze medals.
In addition to the hardware, Canadians Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Marc-Antoine Gagnon and Philippe Marquis also had impressive showings, with all of them making it through to the six-person super final rounds.
For Kingsbury, who clinched his 2014 Olympic nomination last week, it was the sixth win of this pre-Olympic season, in just eight events.
After finishing fourth in the first final today, the resilient 20-year-old rebounded to score 23.41 in the super-final for the win. Bradley Wilson of the US took the silver at 23.31 and reigning Olympic Champion Alex Bilodeau was third with a score of 22.65.
Kingsbury explained that a fresh dump of snow overnight made for a soft course in qualifications, but it quickly turned slippery after the weather became overcast for finals. “I had a difficult time in the finals run, actually I didn’t ski the run I wanted to ski but I fought and made it into the super finals,” he said. “It was very slick so you really had to control your speed, I learned from my finals run and managed to put it together for a clutch performance in the end, so I’m super stoked,” said the 20-year old who keeps his hold on the yellow leader’s bib.
Rosemère, Que.’s Bilodeau, who topped the standings after an excellent performance in the first finals round said he was disappointed with his third-place super final showing. “I landed a bit too heavy on the top air and I was a bit too fast which made me make some little mistakes,” he said, adding that the challenge for everyone today was keeping speed in check because the course was so slippery. “I think we [the Canadian Team] are very strong technically and that’s what made the difference for us.”
Canadians Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que. and Marquis of Quebec City also had impressive finishes, with both men making it through to the six-person super final round. They finished just out of the medals in fourth and fifth, with respective scores of 22.22 and 16.40.
Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh of Quebec City and PO Gagné of Montreal, Que. finished 14th and 15th in the first finals round.
Cedric Rochon of St. Sauveur, Que. did not complete his run.
On the women’s side, it was the second time Robichaud stood at the top the podium in the land of the rising sun, as she won the dual mogul competition event in Naeba last year.
Today the Quebec City native dominated the field, winning the finals round and then going on to score 20.62 to edge the Czech Republic’s Nikola Sudova, at 20.33, in the super final. Montreal, Que.’s Chloé Dufour-Lapointe bested her little sister Justine for the bronze, scoring 19.25 to Justine’s 17.81.
But the win was a surprise for Robichaud, “I really didn’t do my best run for the super final and I was actually pretty disappointed in myself, especially after I had such a great run in the finals; so when I got to the bottom and saw the scores I thought they had made a mistake, but I guess all the other girls made some mistakes too — the course was pretty difficult and tricky on the top section so it was really easy to make mistakes,” she explained, adding that, not surprisingly, Japan is her favorite stop on the tour, “The people, the food, the culture, I love it here. Everyone is so nice and respectful, it’s so much fun to be here.”
For her part, Chloé said her performance was the culmination of a lot of work that she’s been doing in advance of the upcoming World Championships in Norway. “I just skied and had fun,” said the 21-year-old who was fifth at the Vancouver Olympics, “It was for sure really technical and you had to have control, especially off the top air, but I think with the steepness of the course and the quality of our jumps thanks to Steve [Omischl, the team’s air coach] we are just really prepared. Today everything I’ve been training just all came together.”
While not quite in the medals, the fourth place finish for Justine was good enough to earn back the yellow leaders bib, after briefly losing it to Hannah Kearney of the US last week at the Sochi test event. Kearney finished 23rd today.
“I was not very happy with my super finals run because I went out of my line after the first air, so I was actually really happy to get back the yellow bib. It was a cool surprise and I’m going to keep working hard so I can keep it,” said Justine
Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C. made it to the finals round for the seventh time out of eight competitions this season. The 17-year-old rookie finished in eighth.
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe and Chelsea Henitiuk of Spruce Grove, Alta. did not advance to finals; they finished in 19th and 21st position, respectively.
Freestyle World Cup action continues tomorrow with a dual mogul event here and an Aerial event in the Ukraine.
MOGULS WORLD CUP
FEBRUARY 22, 2013 – INAWASHIRO, JAPAN
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