Canada's Mikaël Kingsbury wins Olympic gold in men's moguls
'I knew what I needed to do to win,' says Quebec freestyle skier, who also won silver at Sochi in 2014
By Pete Evans, CBC Sports
Canadian freestyle skier Mikaël Kingsbury won gold in men's moguls on Monday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, securing the one honour that had eluded him in his illustrious career.
The 25-year-old from Deux-Montagnes, Que., was among the group of six who had advanced to the medal rounds in South Korea, and the second last skier to go on the final run.
He scored 86.63, good enough for first place with one skier to go.
The Japanese skier who followed him, Daichi Hara, had a score of 82.19, setting off jubilation for Kingsbury and his family once they knew his run would hold up for gold.
Mikaël Kingsbury’s parents react the his score of 86.63. Gold is in his grasp. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PyeonChang2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PyeonChang2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/QcBMQZCMhY">pic.twitter.com/QcBMQZCMhY</a>—@jackydoorey
Kingsbury admitted to the CBC after the race that he was nervous before his first run, but found his groove as the day went on.
"I was just trying to get to the bottom," he said.
Listen to his comments here:
His strategy was to not necessarily win every round, but just make sure he advanced through each cutoff — first from a group of 20 skiers, then to the second run with 12 and then into the final six where medals are awarded.
Sure enough, it worked.
"When I did my second [run], I knew what I needed to do to win'", Kingsbury said. "I had to keep it clean, and it worked out," he said.
"I was able to put my best run in the last round."
Australia's Matt Graham took silver with 82.57, while Hara captured bronze.
Click on the video below to view highlights from the final:
Kingsbury is unquestionably the most successful moguls skier in history, having won more than half of the World Cup events in which he's entered, and he set a record this season by winning 13 races in a row.
He has finished on the podium in six world championships and is now a back-to-back Olympic medalist, after taking the silver four years ago in Sochi.
Canada has now won gold in men's moguls in three consecutive Games, with Alexandre Bilodeau taking the title in 2010 and then again 2014.
Other Canadian performances
Two other Canadians also competed in the finals on Monday.
Marc-Antoine Gagnon, 26, from Terrebonne, Que., just missed the podium with a score of 77.02, good enough for fourth place, and matching his finish in Sochi.
Watch Gagnon's final run here:
Quebec City's Philippe Marquis qualified among the final 20 skiers on Monday. But Marquis has been skiing with a torn ACL suffered in a crash last month, and his knee gave out during his first run of the day.
Watch Marquis's run here:
After landing his first jump, the 28-year-old Marquis grimaced, quickly made his way to the side of the course and gingerly came down the hill.
"It was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my whole life," he said of skiing through the pain.
After the injury on Jan. 8, he knew his podium chances were dashed. But he came to these Games determined to pursue his Olympic dream.
"Obviously I knew I would not be a contender for a podium, which was a bummer because I worked so hard," he told CBC News after the race, "but as soon as I let that go I had a new goal, a new mission.
"But I'm really happy I don't have to ski again," he laughed. "It was tough."
Yes <a href="https://twitter.com/MikaelKingsbury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MikaelKingsbury</a> captured the in men's moguls in brilliant fashion. But the courage of <a href="https://twitter.com/MarquisPhil?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarquisPhil</a> skiing on a torn ACL was admirable. Enough to make his mother cry. Beautiful moment.<a href="https://twitter.com/CBCOlympics?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCOlympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/38qla4rdOL">pic.twitter.com/38qla4rdOL</a>—@StrashinCBC
At the bottom of the hill, Marquis waved his hands to the assembled television cameras, so Canadians could see what he had written on his gloves: "Keep fighting."
He echoed that sentiment after the race.
"Just follow my dreams, that's all it is," he said. "Keep fighting."