RUKA, Finland — Canada's Mikael Kingsbury has started the moguls World Cup season right where he left off.
Kingsbury won a gold medal at the first moguls World Cup event of the season on Saturday. After earning silver at the Beijing Olympics he finished the last freestyle skiing season with three consecutive World Cup wins.
The 30-year-old from Deux-Montagne, Que., reached the top of the podium on Saturday with a score of 84.50. Japan's Ikuma Horishima earned silver with an 80.48 and Australia's Matt Graham took bronze with an 80.12.
Kingsbury had the final run of the day and was surprised when he heard his competition's scores.
"They were lower than what I expected but I just had to stick to my game plan, do what I wanted to do," said Kingsbury. "It's nice that I was able to improve my scores from the Final 1 to the super final."
It was Kingsbury's 10th career victory in Ruka, Finland. He has now reached a World Cup podium 145 times in his storied career.
Now in his 12th season on the World Cup circuit, Kingsbury said that he's as motivated as ever.
"I'm always excited for the first race of the season. So I've never had a problem with motivation, really," said Kingsbury. "I want to be there. I want to be the last guy to go. I want to be in those positions. I want to feel nervous."
Gabriel Dufresne of Joliette, Que., was the only other Canadian to advance past the qualifiers. He finished 11th with a score of 75.24.
Elliot Vaillancourt (Drummondville, Que., 18th), Kerrian Chunlaud (Sainte-Foy, Que., 22nd), Alexandre Lavoie (Quebec City, 23rd), Daniel Tanner (Calgary, 33rd) and Julien Viel (Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que., 38th) were all eliminated in the qualification rounds, as were Laurianne Desmarais-Gilbert (Sainte-Adèle, Que.) and Maïa Schwinghammer (Saskatoon), who just missed making the top 16 in the preliminaries and moving on to the first elimination round.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2022.