Mogul skiers win seven medals at Lake Placid 

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team is dominating the World Cup moguls circuit

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team is dominating the World Cup moguls circuit this year, adding seven medals over two days at Lake Placid to the four they earned the previous week in Quebec. All told, that represents 11 out of 18 medals awarded over the past two weeks.

In the first of two single moguls events at Lake Placid, Alex Bilodeau and Jenn Heil each won the silver medal, while Audrey Robichaud earned her first career World Cup medal in the bronze medal positions.

Guilbaut Colas of France and Jeremy Cota of the U.S. were first and third on the men's side, while Hannah Kearney of the U.S. won the women's gold medal - her fourth of the 2010-2011 World Cup season.

All three men were separated by less than one point, which Bilodeau took as proof that he's skiing well.

"I'm skiing well and my head is in the right place," said the Olympic champion. "I'm trying to ski the way I can, I don't need to win by two points - I just need to ski my best."

Rookie Marc-Antoine Gagnon placed seventh, his best World Cup result to date, while veteran Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau placed 11th. Rousseau has announced that he will retire after the world championships in February.

Heil was the fastest skier on the women's side, but Kearney won the competition with higher turn and jump scores.

"I never explicitly work on just speed, but I have been working really hard on my turns this week and I felt like I've been able to re-establish the quickness of my turns," said Heil. "For tomorrow I'm going to work on making my overall package sharper."

Robichaud was ecstatic with the podium after qualifying for the last spot in the finals in 12th. "The thing is, I had nothing to lose, so I just went for it," she said.

Kristi Richards was sixth for Canada, while sisters Chloe Dufour-Lapointe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe were 11th and 12th. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe was 16th.

On the second day of competition Colas earned his second gold medal for the men, but this time he was followed by Canadians Mikael Kingsbury and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau. Marce-Antoine Gagnon moved up to fourth place, and Cedric Rochon was fifth to give Canada four spots in the top five. Bilodeau was 11th and Whistler's Eddie Hicks 13th - his best result so far in his rookie season with the team. He missed the finals by just 0.09 points.

Meanwhile, it was rookie Mikael Kingsbury's fourth podium this season.

"I got over my disappointment of my binding popping off yesterday by just telling myself that I know what to do and I just have to focus on my run and the good results will come," he said.

Rousseau noted that the last time he was on a podium he also rode the chairlift with Kingsbury before the finals, "like we did in China when he won his first World Cup and I came third," he said. "Now we have a date on the chairlift at world's in February."

The Canadian women also earned a pair of podiums. Kearney dominated once again to take the gold, but Chloe Dufour-Lapointe moved up to the silver medal position, followed by Kristi Richards in third. Jenn Heil was fourth, Justine Dufour-Lapointe 10th, Maxime Dufour-Lapointe 13th and Whistler's Chelsea Henitiuk 21st.

"I'm so happy and excited about what I did today," said Chloe of her silver medal.

There was also an aerials competition, a discipline that Canada has struggled in since the retirement of several top athletes over the past two seasons.

Ashley Caldwell of the U.S. won the gold medal, followed by Alla Tsuper of Belarus and Xu Mengtao of China.

Crystal Lee was the top Canadian in ninth, which represented her personal best World Cup result, followed by Sabrina Guerin in 12th.

Lee was a competitive trampolinist with no previous skiing experience, but she's getting the hang of landing on skis.

"Actually, I had to fight for my landing on my second jump, but I saved it," she said.

The top three men were Qui Ganugpu of China, followed by Ryan St. Onge of the U.S. and Anton Kushnir of Belarus.

Remi Belanger was the top Canadian in ninth, also posting a personal best despite a crash during training where he lost a ski after take-off. Travis Gerrits was 20th.

While the moguls and aerials team are in North America, the Canadian Halfpipe Team was in Kreischberg, Austria for a World Cup event.

Canada's Rosalind Groenewoud took the gold medal, followed by Virtine Faivre of Switzerland and Katrien Aerts of Belarus. The only male skier in the running was Kristopher Atkinson, who placed 14th. Xavier Bertoni and Valentin Benoit of France were first and second, with Nils Lauper of Switzerland in third.

The turnout at Kresichberg was low, with the top skiers in the world in the U.S. preparing for this weekend's Winter X Games.

 

 

 

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