Switzerland's Fanny Smith has put the pressure on Whistler's Marielle Thompson, setting up a one-race, winner-take-all showdown for the Crystal Globe at the season's final ski cross World Cup.
Though Thompson reached the women's final in both races of a back-to-back World Cup stop in Are, Sweden, over the weekend, Smith won both events to challenge the Olympic champion's lead in the overall standings. Thompson finished second behind Smith on March 15, then finished fourth on March 16.
The 21-year-old's lead has shrunk to just five points over Smith as the World Cup circuit shifts to La Plagne, France, for the last race of the season on March 23.
Thompson had a chance to grow her lead in the second race at Are, getting the hole shot in the final but falling to the back of the pack.
"I was leading into the first turn, and then Ophelie (David, of France) passed me and I got pushed into the powder and lost all my speed," Thompson said in a release. "That's how she goes sometimes."
Thompson has finished in the top five of every World Cup race this season, while Smith has finished first or second six times. Smith is the Crystal Globe's defending champion, while Thompson won the title in 2012.
Canadian teammate Georgia Simmerling finished third in the March 16 race, earning the second World Cup podium of her career. Simmerling placed 11th the day before. Danielle Sundquist posted 16th- and 20th-place results for the Canadian team.
Unfortunately for Whistler's Dave Duncan, the men's Crystal Globe is now out of reach after he missed both races in Are due to injury. Duncan went into the weekend's races with a slim lead in the overall standings, but crashed during his qualifying run and did not end up competing.
The nature of Duncan's injury wasn't disclosed but he is reportedly hopeful to race at La Plagne. After missing the back-to-back in Sweden, the 31-year-old can now finish no higher than third for the season.
Are didn't go as planned for the Canadian men as a whole, with Mathieu Leduc's eighth-place finish on March 16 being the squad's best result of the weekend. Brady Leman had the best Canadian result in the first race, finishing 19th.
KINGSBURY MAKES MOGULS HISTORY
Mikael Kingsbury is now the winningest World Cup moguls skier in Canadian history, and it didn't even take him very long to claim that title.
Kingsbury earned the 21st World Cup victory of his career in a duals event at Voss, Norway, on March 16, surpassing Jean-Luc Brassard, who had established the old record with 20 wins during his career.
What's most incredible is that Kingsbury has earned all of his triumphs in less than five seasons on the circuit, and in just 51 starts.
"It's a bit crazy because Jean-Luc has been an inspiration to me ever since I was tiny," Kingsbury said in a release. "He has given so much to our sport and team, especially as part of the Olympic team in Sochi last month.
"He is just amazing, and I can't wait to talk with him."
Kingsbury beat out teammate and Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau in the men's final for the victory.
In the release, Brassard, who spent 11 seasons on the World Cup tour in his career, compared Kingsbury's accomplishment to Wayne Gretzky rewriting the NHL record books as a young star.
"I'm proud to have Mikael take up the reins," said Brassard. "Our sport needs new faces, new stories and people that will help keep it in the spotlight."
Whistler's Eddie Hicks did not compete at Voss.
The World Cup finals for moguls will also take place at La Plagne, going March 21, with Bilodeau and Kingsbury both still in the running for the season title.
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