King of moguls Mikaël Kingsbury prepares to add to his records on the World Cup circuit

The smell of competition in the air still gets Mikaël Kingsbury’s adrenaline pumping, even after years of winning everything there is to win in his sport.

The world’s most accomplished mogul skier is set to leave for a training block in Finland, where the World Cup season kicks off December 4-5 in Ruka.

« I can still feel the vibe, » Kingsbury told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. « It’s a bit like, as they say, a drug for me. I like the feeling of being a little nervous and having to perform and having a little pressure to be the favourite. »

Kingsbury’s six World Championship golds, 74 career World Cup wins and 10 overall World Cup titles are records that are becoming virtually untouchable as he prepares to add them this season .

The 30-year-old from Deux-Montagnes, Que., won Olympic gold in 2018, silver in 2014 and silver again in February in Beijing.

Kingsbury was ousted from back-to-back Olympic titles by Swede Walter Wallberg in Beijing.

WATCH | Kingsbury makes history with silver in men’s moguls in Beijing:

Kingsbury settles for bump money after Wallberg closes strong

Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury was close to becoming Olympic mogul champion again, but Sweden’s Walter Wallberg clinched gold with the final run.

Kingsbury beat Japan’s Ikuma Horishima by just 0.04 points in March’s World Cup final to claim the Crystal Globe, awarded to the winner of the season.

« Now there are a lot of guys pushing me. The top five in the world right now are super strong, » Kingsbury said. « These people push me every race and I love that. It’s never been easy and I love the challenge. It makes me feel alive. »

The addition of dual moguls to the menu for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina, Italy is another booster for Kingsbury heading into the first season of the Olympic quadrennial.

4-race sweep last season

Dual Moguls are head-to-head races between two competitors in a knockout bracket. Skiers are still judged on turns, aerial tricks and speed as they are in single moguls, but with the added pressure of racing another skier to the finish line.

Skiers can potentially win a heat by finishing second if the judges rank their turns and tricks much higher.

Kingsbury have won three of the last four world doubles titles and swept all four World Cup races last season.

He says he and his Canadian teammates spent more time practicing on the dual moguls in October in Chile than they had at previous pre-season training camps.

« For sure it’s going to be a little bigger in everyone’s eyes, » Kingsbury said. « I think there will be more people who will focus a little more on certain events, trying to be good at doubles or singles.

WATCH | Kingsbury has an insatiable appetite to win:

Moguls champion Mikaël Kingsbury has an insatiable appetite for victory

Watch Mikaël Kingsbury take CBC Sports behind the scenes, showing off his 18 Crystal Globe trophies.

« I will try to be at my best in both disciplines. »

I’m on a good streak with the world championship. It would be nice to win [single and dual] events in Georgia…and also the Crystal Globe.— Mogul skier Mikael Kingsbury talks about his goals for the 2022-23 season

There are six dual moguls and six single moguls on the men’s 2022-23 World Cup schedule, including a stop at Val Saint-Côme in Kingsbury’s home province on Jan. 27-28.

After winning the men’s singles and duel moguls at the last two Freestyle Skiing World Championships, Kingsbury will pursue a three-round double from February 19 to March 5 in Bakuriani, Georgia.

« I’m on a good streak with the World Championship, » Kingsbury said. « It would be nice to win both events there in Georgia. That’s definitely one of the main goals this year, as well as the Crystal Globe. »

« I always want to win »

Kingsbury is determined to add more globes to its already busy storefront before it retires.

« Things are different. I’m older. I know this is probably my last four years, » he said. « I’ve achieved so much, I’m very proud of it. I always want to win. »

Kingsbury missed the first three World Cups of the 2020-21 season with a back injury suffered days before Ruka’s opener.

He returned to competition in time to win the dual mogul and singles world crowns in Kazakhstan.

WATCH l Kingsbury wins 10th Crystal Globe in moguls:

Mikael Kingsbury wins his 10th career Crystal Globe in moguls

The Canadian freestyle skier won by just 0.04 points in the World Cup final in Megeve, France on Friday.

The injury combined with the COVID-19 pandemic had kept him from snowing in 2020 for the longest period of his life.

Kingsbury’s success on his return told him he could cut the volume and still win, which is a consideration now that he’s 30.

« At the time, I could ski and not stretch, » Kingsbury said. “My body recovered very quickly. I could fall and still be fine the next day.

« Of course I still have to take risks because you can’t do much if you don’t take risks. I try to calculate, to do a little less volume, to try to focus on quality, taking my time to get back to pushing 100% on my skis, just doing things with a little more purpose and being smart with what I’m doing.

« Recovery, gym, stretching, what I eat, those things are important, especially as you get older. »

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