Mikael Kingsbury wins another World Cup moguls gold
Mikael Kingsbury punched his ticket to Sochi in Sochi.
The 20-year-old freestyle skier from Deux-Montagnes, Que., won World Cup gold in moguls Friday at the 2014 Olympic Games venue in Sochi, Russia.
With his fifth gold in seven events this season, Kingsbury also met the criteria for early nomination to the Canada's Olympic team.
"There's some pressure off my shoulders now," Kingsbury said during a conference call.
"It was important for me to perform here and to make sure when I come back for the Olympics I know a lot about the course."
Kingsbury's teammate Phil Marquis of Quebec City took bronze.
Defending Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau of Rosemere, Que., was 14th. Bilodeau said on Twitter his skis slid into slush after his second jump.
Friday's moguls at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park went ahead even though snowboard parallel slalom races there were cancelled because of warm weather.
Weather OK by Kingsbury
The moguls skiers competed in soft and slushy snow in qualifying and then the temperature dropped, causing the course to harden for the next round, Kingsbury said. Rain fell during the evening's super final of six competitors.
"We'll be ready for anything next year," Kingsbury said. "Hopefully if the weather is like that next season, I'll be ready."
Kingsbury leads the overall standings with 605 points ahead of Bilodeau with 453.
The Canadian women were held off the podium in Sochi. Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City was fifth behind victor Hannah Kearney of the U.S.
Montreal's Justine Dufour-Lapointe was seventh, but remains second in the standings behind Kearney.
Competition for spots on Canada's Olympic men's moguls team will be fierce because of international quotas. Canada can take only four men to compete in Sochi next year.
Two podiums plus a top-16 finish, with one of those results either from Sochi or the world championship in March, is enough for the skiers to know before the summer that they'll be a 2014 Olympian.
"They want to have that result already in the bank so they can put that behind them and focus on either preparing for the Olympic Games or just performing at the world championships," said Peter Judge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.
"Being able to tick off that box and have a good experience here is critical. Certainly Phil on the podium and having two podiums is a big plus for the team."
Freestyle halfpipe events are scheduled for Saturday, followed by aerials Sunday.