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, Quebec, 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. Australia’s Matt Graham took silver with 82.57, while Hara captured bronze.
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.
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. “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.
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.