Moguls ace Mikael Kingsbury was so dominant in freestyle skiing this season that it seemed impossible that he could go home from the world championships with only one bronze medal.
But that’s what happened as the 24-year-old from Deux-Montagnes, Que., finished 13th in the dual moguls on Thursday. He had been held to only a bronze medal in the single moguls a day earlier.
The Olympic silver medallist won seven World Cup gold medals in a row coming into the championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, and had claimed the sixth crystal globe of his career as the season’s overall champion.
But he couldn’t find his rhythm in the summer-like conditions and watched as underdog Ikuma Horishima of Japan swept both events.
“It’s not the results I wanted but everything felt great,” said Kingsbury. “I had a tough draw facing him in the round of 16.
“He was the master of this course. It’s his type of snow.”
The Canadian women also missed the podium. Perrine Laffont of France won while Andi Naude of Penticton, B.C., was the top Canadian in ninth place. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal was 11th while here sister Justine finished 14th. Justine Dufour-Lapointe had also won singles bronze on Wednesday.
Kingsbury compared the conditions to what the Canadians ski on at summer camps and said it should not be seen as an omen for what may happen at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Snow conditions there are expected to be “more wintry,” he said.
He usually is all but unbeatable in either moguls event, but it appeared the soft snow acted as a equalizer.
“We all skied in the same conditions,” he said. “I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but it does bring the pack together.”
Kingsbury, who won dual moguls gold at the world championships two years ago in Austria, remains as confident as ever and hopes to use the setback as motivation for next season.
“If I look at my season, it was amazing,” said Kingsbury. “The best of my career.
“I don’t want the world championships to put a shadow on my season.”
Philippe Marquis of Quebec City was 14th while Marc-Antoine Gagnon of Terrebone, Que., was 19th and Laurent Dumais of Quebec City was 30th.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe went in as the reigning Olympic and world championship singles gold medallist (dual moguls is not an Olympic event), but she also struggled with the conditions.
“I was a bit tired,” she said. “My legs burned a bit, but I felt good all day.
“Now I feel so much more ready to train even harder for next year. I feel like I can learn from all the challenges. I need to improve skiing and my jumps and have a higher degree of difficulty (in the jumps) to get higher scores. It makes it even more clear what I have to work on this summer.”
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press