Mikael Kingsbury holds his trophy in his right hand and his skis in his left which have a white cowboy hat on them.Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Kingsbury to miss start of World Cup season after back injury in training

For the first time in his illustrious World Cup career, Mikaël Kingsbury will be missing races due to injury.

The reigning Olympic moguls champion fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae, which are in the middle segment of the spinal column, when he landed awkwardly on a jump on Sunday while training in Ruka, Finland ahead of this weekend’s World Cup season opener there. That would would have marked his 110th World Cup start.

He shared the news on his social media on Thursday after returning home to Quebec where he will rest before beginning his rehabilitation program.

“My jump was good but I landed in the wrong place. Though I tried to protect myself, my back took the brunt of the impact,” Kingsbury said in a statement released by Freestyle Canada, which also noted the top portion of the course appeared to be in poor condition. “The good news is that the fractures are at the back of the mid-spine vertebrae, so no nerves were affected.”

It is expected that he will be in recovery for 4-6 weeks, which means he will miss the first three races of the World Cup season taking place in Ruka and Idre Fjall, Sweden in December. The circuit then takes a break for the holidays before the next scheduled race in Calgary in late January.

Kingsbury has won nine straight Crystal Globes as the overall World Cup champion for all freestyle skiing disciplines. In his 109 career starts he has stood on the podium 91 times, including 63 victories, the most ever by a moguls skier.

In a Facebook post he said “This weekend, I’ll be cheering on my teammates in front of my screen – last time I watched a live event was in 2010!”