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Mikael Kingsbury has one thing left to do

At only 24 years old, Mikael Kingsbury is already the winningest men's moguls skier in history. He's won the World Cup season five years running, and owns two world championships. But there's one more title left to win, and it may be the biggest of all.

Moguls star owns every title, except maybe the biggest of them all

No man has won more World Cup men's moguls titles than Mikael Kingsbury, but he needs Olympic gold to complete his so-called "Grand Slam." (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

Mikael Kingsbury is one of the most dominant athletes in any sport, anywhere. 

The numbers are astounding: Only 24 years old, the Canadian moguls skier already owns the men's record for most all-time World Cup victories in his sport with 33. He has won the crystal globe as the season champion five years running.

In 69 career World Cup starts, Kingsbury has reached the podium 53 times, including four victories at Ruka in Finland, where the 2016-17 season begins on Saturday. (Watch live on CBCSports.ca at 12:40 p.m. ET, and catch more coverage on CBC-TV's Road to the Olympic Games show at 5 p.m. ET.)

But there's one title left to win, and he calls it his "ultimate goal."

Rare ability

A moguls course is nauseatingly steep, with mounds of snow jutting out at regular intervals between two jumps. It's ski racing and acrobatics rolled into one, with athletes scoring points for both how fast they can get down the hill and the quality and difficulty of their tricks.

Kingsbury's superior speed down the hill and mastery of acrobatics make him tough to beat. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

To prepare, Kingsbury's coaches ask him to ski a course up to a second-and-a-half faster than anyone else on the tour. Then, in competition, he selects whatever speed he needs to win. 

This is a rare ability — one his teammates are still trying to learn.

"He's just an incredibly special athlete," says Rob Kober, head coach of the Canadian men's moguls team. 

"He loves the sport on its own merits, but he also loves to compete."

Kober has a good story about Kingsbury's competitiveness. It takes place this past off-season in the Australian mountain town of Jindabyne. 

As part of its dry-land training, the Canadian team was playing baseball — a habit formed while chasing snow around the world during the summer months back home. On this day, they'd created a makeshift diamond on a rugby pitch during the Australian winter.

"Literally, there's kangaroos hopping around this field and we're playing baseball in a blizzard in Australia in August. It was super surreal," Kober recalls. 

"I'm standing around looking at this scene, it's like out of The Twilight Zone, and Mik's pitching. And he's pitching to win," Kober laughs. "It's all business."

Kingsbury also made it his business in Australia to work on a new trick. It's called a cork 1440, and it involves a partial back flip with a quadruple twist.

'I learned how to lose'

Kingsbury stands a shade over 5-foot-8 and weighs around 150 pounds — ideal for spinning off jumps. He usually sweeps his dark hair under a backwards black snapback cap.

The native of Deux-Montagnes, Que., is laid-back and humble but freely admits to his competitive nature.

"I hate to lose," he says. "I've been like that since I was young. Growing up I had an older brother [Maxime], so I learned how to lose basically every day.

"When I compete, I think I care more than everyone."

Kober thinks Kingsbury's edge also comes from good acrobatic training as a child.

"The hardest degree-of-difficulty jumps that are done on the moguls course, he's been doing them since he was probably 13 or 14 years old." says Kober.

The missing piece

Kingsbury also played baseball until he was 15, pitching a little and eventually moving to shortstop because of his relatively small size and superb athleticism. At the plate he was a leadoff hitter. 

Now he's one win away from moguls' version of a Grand Slam. This includes winning the World Cup rookie of the year award, the crystal globes (Kingsbury has won both the moguls and overall freestyle titles in each of the last five years), the world championships (in both single and dual moguls), plus Olympic gold.

Kingsbury has won the crystal globe for both moguls and overall freestyle skiing at the end of each of the last five World Cup seasons. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press/Canadian Press)

All Kingsbury is missing is the last piece after being edged by teammate Alex Bilodeau for gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"This would be the ultimate goal in my career," Kingsbury says.

Qualification for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games begins with this season, but Kingsbury says he isn't thinking too much about the Olympics yet.

After all, it wasn't too long ago that he and other Sochi Olympians were honoured on the field before a Toronto Blue Jays game. He didn't throw the ceremonial first pitch that day, but it's another item on his wish list.

Like a true competitor, he says he'd want to throw from the top of the mound instead of the usual spot in front. His pitch selection? Fastball.

"I would love to do that," gushes Kingsbury. "If I do something special and they invite me, that would be a super awesome feeling.

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