Weekend Roundup: Kingsbury scores historic hat trick at world championships
It was a busy world championship weekend on snow and Team Canada athletes did not disappoint.
If there were any doubts about Mikaël Kingsbury‘s status as the GOAT of moguls, he dismissed those with his display of superiority at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia. Canada can also boast about having world silver medallists in ski cross and some rising stars who came oh so close to the podium in aerials and cross-country skiing.
Here’s what you may have missed over the past few days:
Moguls: Back-to-back-to-back world titles X 2 🏆
The achievements continue to add up for the world’s greatest moguls skier, Mikaël Kingsbury.
Over the weekend, the King first claimed a third straight world title in moguls, followed by a third straight world title in dual moguls. That gives him a grand total of eight world championship gold medals in his career — making him the first athlete to win four world titles in each of those disciplines.
There were also some promising results by the up-and-comers on the Canadian team. Gabriel Dufresne placed fifth in Sunday’s men’s dual moguls. On the women’s side, Maia Schwinghammer made it to the super final of the moguls where she finished fifth overall. She followed up with an eighth-place finish in dual moguls in just her second world championship appearance.
Ski Cross: Dynamic duo races to silver 🥈
Thompson earned her third medal in seven world championship appearances while Howden reached the world podium for the first time in his career. In the big final, Howden was the first man across the finish line, giving Thompson a small advantage of a tenth of a second over Sweden at the start of the women’s leg. But that margin was no match for Sandra Naeslund, who hasn’t lost any race since December 2021. Sweden took the gold by 1.51 seconds while Italy came in for the bronze.
“It was a big day with the singles and the team [competitions] in the same day,” Thompson told Alpine Canada. “Reece was skiing so well today; he gave the team a great opportunity and I’m really happy with the result.”
Earlier on Sunday, Howden and Thompson had advanced to the big finals of their respective individual events. They both finished just off the podium in fourth place. Two Canadians made it to the men’s small final, with Kevin Drury battled his way to the win for fifth place overall while Brady Leman finished seventh overall.
Aerials: Thénault flies to fourth at worlds
Marion Thénault earned the best world championship result of her young career as she finished fourth in the women’s aerials final on Thursday. The 22-year-old posted the top score of the day in the first round of the final, earned 93.06 points for her back double full full (a triple twisting double flip with two twists on the first flip). In the second round of the final, she changed it up to a back full double full, in which there are two twists on the second flip. That landing was not as successful as she scored 77.19 to miss a medal by 5.65 points.
Cross-Country Skiing: Ritchie & Cyr keep making magic
Graham Ritchie and Antoine Cyr were knocking on the door to the podium at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica, Slovenia. Just over a year after they finished fifth in the team sprint classic at Beijing 2022, they were fourth in the team sprint free on Sunday. The 24-year-old Canadians were beaten out by France for the bronze by 6.47 seconds. It improves on their seventh place finish in the team sprint free at the worlds two years ago.
“It is just the magic of the team. Like a good magician we can’t share our tricks as to why it works,” laughed Cyr.
“Usually, you put an Ontarian and a Quebecer together and they will butt heads but there is just something with the two of us that works,” added Ritchie. “We can definitely feel the podium is within our reach. The progression through the world championships, then the Olympics, you for sure feel it. We are right there and can see the guys who finished on the podium right in front of us.”
Ski Jumping: Soaring at the world championships ✨
Abigail Strate earned her first individual top-10 result at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on Thursday. She was the top Canadian in the women’s normal hill event. Teammate Alexandria Loutitt had been in eighth place after the first jump of the final, but dropped to 26th after the second jump.
On Saturday, they were joined by Natalie Eilers and Nicole Maurer to finish sixth in the women’s team event. The women’s large hill final is scheduled for Wednesday.
Curling: Team Einarson wins fourth straight Tournament of Hearts
For the fourth straight year, the national champions in women’s curling are skip Kerri Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, and lead Briane Harris. They took the long through the Page playoffs, needing to reel off three straight wins to take the title. They defeated Team Manitoba (skipped by Jennifer Jones, who was seeking a record-breaking seventh Tournament of Hearts title) 10-4 in the final.
With four straight national titles, Einarson matches the feat achieved by Nova Scotian legend Colleen Jones from 2001 to 2004. Her team will be Team Canada once again at the World Women’s Curling Championship which will take place March 18-26 in Sandviken, Sweden
Athletics: Newman wins twice on World Indoor Tour
Alysha Newman showed great form at the World Athletics Indoor Tour stop in Birmingham, England on Saturday. She cleared 4.78m in the women’s pole vault, which is just four centimetres shy of her national record set in 2019. This is her best result since then, after having spent much of the last two years recovering from a serious concussion. Newman was also victorious on Wednesday in Madrid with a winning height of 4.65m.
Sarah Mitton won the women’s shot put in Madrid with a throw of 19.76m. That was just four centimetres off her best throw of the season so far, which came back in January in her first meet of 2023.
Tennis: Auger-Aliassime reaches semis in Qatar
For the second straight week, Felix Auger-Aliassime was stymied by Daniil Medvedev. After a quarterfinal loss in Rotterdam, Auger-Aliassime ran into the man who’s become his nemesis in the semifinals of the Qatar Open, an ATP 250 event. The world number nine lost 6-4, 7-6(7) to the now-world number seven. Auger-Aliassime is now 0-6 in his career against Medvedev.