Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canuck mogul men finish 1-2 in Finnish World Cup event

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RUKA, Finland -- Canadians Mikael Kingsbury and Alexandre Bilodeau finished 1-2 in men's moguls on Saturday in a World Cup of freestyle skiing event.

Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., won gold with a score of 26.93, while Bilodeau, from Montreal, took silver with 26.54. Japan's Sho Endo (25.24) placed third.

"Alex was going right before me and he did an amazing run with a very high score," said Kingsbury. "I knew it would be very hard to beat that score, so I went for it. I went just a little bit faster than him and got the gold today.

"It's probably the best run of my life."

Kingsbury was very pleased with his performance, especially heading toward the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this February.

"It's the perfect way to start the season, especially for an Olympic year," said Kingsbury. "It's looking great, I'm skiing great, I'm in good shape, no injuries. I just want to keep it going."

Bilodeau, who won gold for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Games, is very impressed with Kingsbury's progress as a high-calibre skier.

"Mikael is a great talent and he really pushed it today," said Bilodeau. "I put the bar very high and I knew I had a very clean run, quite fast. He had to go all out."

Bilodeau was also pleased with his performance and is looking forward to fine-tuning for the Olympics.

"I went very big on the top air, perfect top air. The middle section probably was one of my best middle sections ever," said Bilodeau. "I can't wait to see the videos and to see the judge's score and to analyze that with my coach."

Quebec City's Philippe Marquis was in 10th and Montreal's Pascal-Olivier Gagne was 12th.

In women's moguls competition, Montreal's Justine Dufour-Lapointe won silver with a score of 23.90. She lost to American Hannah Kearney (25.07) and beat out Japan's Aiko Uemura (23.69).

"I worked hard this summer on my jumps and it really paid off today," said Dufour-Lapointe. "I'm really stoked and happy that everything came together. It's such a good feeling to know that you've done an awesome job."

Montreal's Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was fifth and Quebec City's Audrey Robichaud ninth.

Falcon Lake's Imrie well back

ANNECY, France -- Nathan Smith was the latest Canadian biathlete to secure a spot at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Saturday after a 16th-place finish at a World Cup event.

The 28-year-old from Calgary matched his career best after missing just one shot in his two rounds of shooting in the men's 10-kilometre sprint competition. Smith finished in 23 minutes 15.1 seconds.

In women's competition, Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore was the top Canadian finishing 26th (21:52.5) (1+0) in the women's 7.5-kilometre sprint event.

Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake place 40th at 22:17.8 (1+1), while Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., tied for 45th.

-- The Canadian Pres

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2013 B16

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