Mikael Kingsbury clinches 4th overall World Cup moguls title
Canadian 1 victory shy of matching all-time wins record
Canada's Mikael Kingsbury prefers a one-step-at-a-time approach to his sporting achievements.
Well, the country's most successful moguls skier ever is just one step from tying France's Edgar Grospiron for the all-time wins record on the World Cup circuit.
On Saturday, the 22-year-old Kingsbury won his sixth straight World Cup event and 26th overall on in Tazawako, Japan to clinch his fourth overall Crystal Globe title.
The native of Deux-Montagnes, Que. received 88.17 points to improve to 629 points in the standings, 288 ahead of Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia with two events left.
"I have Grospiron's record in the back of my head and I feel like it motivates me," said Kingsbury. "I really just want to go out and enjoy myself because that's when I feel like I ski at my best.
"That's my plan, to go out and have fun. The motivation is already there to get that record. Winning the Crystal Globe is always a special moment too. It feels great to know that I did my job and guaranteed the title with two World Cups still to go."
Jeremy Coto of the United States was second with 86.33 points while Smyshlyaev was third at the event in Tazawako, Japan with 81.61.
Other Canadian results:
- Philippe Marquis, 7th, 81.16 points
- Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh, 12th, 78.46
- Marc-Antoine Gagnon, 17th, 73.68
- Kerrian Chunlaud, 20th, 72.98
"I wasn't as confident going into this event as I usually am based on the training I had [Friday]," said Kingsbury. "It wasn't the easiest course to compete on, but I felt my confidence go up after every run.
"This is a new mountain for us. We've never held an event here so we really needed to get to know the hill. It was a fun course though. It was just difficult with the amount of snow that fell and how warm it is here. I'm happy I was able to get the best out of myself when it counted the most."
The five-foot-nine, 150-pound Kingsbury would tell you he doesn't think about the milestone while competing, but has acknowledged matching Grospiron's mark would be a special accomplishment.
"I'm a guy that likes records," said Kingsbury, a silver medallist at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. "I can write my name in the history books. If I finish strong this season I could do it."
Kingsbury likened Crystal Globes to winning a Stanley Cup "so it's pretty big."
On Saturday, he achieved one of his pre-season goals.
"It was one of my goals to have [the overall title] locked up by the final World Cup of the season so I wouldn't even have to worry," he said.
Next, he wants a return to an Olympic podium — in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"I'll be ready to win that gold medal," Kingsbury said.
"One thing at a time, though."
Audrey Robichaud reaches podium
It was a historic achievement in the women's event for Audrey Robichaud. The Quebec City native became the first Canadian female mogul skier to start 100 career world Cup events and celebrated by finishing third with 77.41 points.
The podium finish was the seventh of Robichaud's career and fourth in Japan. Alex Anne-Gagnon of Terrebonne, Que., was a career-best sixth.
Other Canadian results:
- Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, 7th, 75.75
- Andi Naude, 11th, 71.88
- Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, 12, 70.65
- Christel Hamel, 13th, 70.63
"The day turned out great even with the weather conditions not being ideal," said Robichaud. "I had the fact that it was my 100th World Cup start in the back of my head, but I really tried to treat it like any other event.
"I've had great success here in Japan in the past. Clearly it a special place for me to compete here. I'm thrilled with what I've been able to accomplish. It was really fun to be in the final with a teammate too and see how well she did."
Hannah Kearney of the United States won the event to solidify her lead in the standings.
Kearney received 79.12 points to edge local favourite Junko Hoshino, who was second with 78.04.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal finished in 22nd place and now trails Kearney by 114 points in the standings.
The dual moguls event will be held on Sunday at the same venue.
With files from The Canadian Press