No post-Olympic hang­over for moguls king Kings­bury

The Beacon Herald - - SPORTS - DONNA SPENCER THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

CAL­GARY — He’s won ev­ery­thing there is to win in moguls, yet Mikael Kings­bury still feels driven.

It’s com­mon for ath­letes who stand on the Olympic podium to take a hia­tus the fol­low­ing sea­son, or at least skip the first few com­pe­ti­tions.

Kings­bury ap­par­ently isn’t feel­ing any men­tal lull af­ter claim­ing gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last year.

The 26-year-old from DeuxMon­tagues, Que., opened his 201819 cam­paign with back-to-back World Cup wins for a head start on what could be his eighth straight crys­tal globe as the sea­son’s over­all cham­pion.

“He fin­ished the Olympic year and when we started work­ing to­gether, he was mo­ti­vated like I’ve never seen a guy mo­ti­vated,” Cana­dian coach Michel Hamelin said.

“It was crazy. He just sees the next level all the time. The next level of be­ing fast, of big­ger jumps.”

The yel­low sea­son leader’s bib bear­ing No. 1 seems per­ma­nently af­fixed to Kings­bury. Wear­ing it keeps his com­pet­i­tive fires stoked.

“I like be­ing chased by other peo­ple,” Kings­bury said. “I like wear­ing that bib. I’ve been wear­ing it for so long and it just seems right when it’s on me.”

The moguls king is hold­ing court in Cal­gary, where he has won seven times in his ca­reer. Fri­day’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion round pre­cedes Saturday’s fi­nals.

The host Cana­dian team also fea­tures 2014 Olympic women’s cham­pion Jus­tine Du­fourLa­pointe and her sis­ter and sil­ver medal­list Chloe Du­four-La­pointe of Mon­treal.

Veteran Philippe Mar­quis of Que­bec City will com­pete for the first time this sea­son. He reached the men’s fi­nal in Pyeongchang ski­ing on a left knee that was mi­nus an an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment.

Mar­quis un­der­went surgery to re­place his ACL within days of his re­turn.

Bren­danKel­ly­ofPem­ber­ton,B.C., Que­bec City’s Lau­rent Du­mais, Ker­rian Chun­laud of Ste-Foy, Que., Ryan Portello of Cochrane, Alta., Si­mon Lemieux and Gabriel Dufres­ne­ofRe­pentigny,Que.,El­liot Vail­lan­court of Drum­mondville, Que., Jordan Kober of Pen­tic­ton, B.C., and Rob­bie Andi­son of Oakville, Ont., will also com­pete in Fri­day qual­i­fy­ing.

The top 16 ad­vance to the Saturday’s fi­nal with the top six mov­ing onto the su­per fi­nal. Women’s qual­i­fy­ing will be held Saturday morn­ing be­fore the elim­i­na­tion rounds.

Kings­bury earned the Lionel Conacher Award as The Cana­dian Press male ath­lete of the year for 2018.

He was the first freestyle skier to win the award.

Kings­bury made moguls look easy in Thursday’s train­ing ses­sion with smooth, fast skis and dar­ing ac­ro­bat­ics.

But Kings­bury’s dura­bil­ity as an ath­lete has also con­trib­uted to a tro­phy case that in­cludes an Olympic gold and sil­ver medal, seven world cham­pi­onship medals and a record 52 World Cup vic­to­ries.

His com­pact body will re­quire more care over the next qua­dren­nial to the 2022 Win­ter Games.

Kings­bury is en­ter­ing a phase in his ca­reer where the mar­gin be­tween him and a ma­jor in­jury is thin­ner due to wear and tear on the body, plus age.

“I’m get­ting older for sure, so I’ve got to pay at­ten­tion to the vol­ume I put out there on the slope and how I re­cover af­ter train­ing,” he said.

“I’m not 18 any more and when I crash it hurts a bit more.”

Kings­bury worked hard in off­sea­son train­ing at mak­ing his body even more com­pact.

“For me, I wanted to get a bit lighter. I’m al­ready pretty small, but I put on some more mus­cle and less fat just to stay more flex­i­ble, pow­er­ful and quick,” he ex­plained.

“At the be­gin­ning of the sea­son you can get away with be­ing heav­ier and stiff, but when you hit that half­point of the sea­son ... you don’t want to carry a lit­tle in­jury to the end of the sea­son.

PAUL CHI­AS­SON/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Mikael Kings­bury, Canada’s moguls king, is about to hold court in Cal­gary.

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