Sochi recap: Freestyle skiing, men’s moguls

Oh Canada. The two big favorites came through, and Russia picked up a surprise bronze. The two American contenders were undone by catastrophe and conservative jumps.

Date: 10-Feb

Sport: Freestyle skiing

Event: Men’s moguls

Medalists: Alex Bilodeau (Canada), Mikael Kingsbury (Canada), Alexandr Smyshlyaev (Russia)

SportsMyriad projections: Mikael Kingsbury (Canada), Alex Bilodeau (Canada), Patrick Deneen (USA)

How U.S. fared: Bradley Wilson got to the first final round (20 skiers) but crashed on his first landing. Incredibly, he popped up and still posted a fast time, but the damage to his score was done, and he didn’t advance.

Patrick Deneen, the 2009 world champion, bailed on his first qualification round but led the second qualifier (22.38 points) to cruise into the final rounds. He wasn’t great in the first final round (22.27) but advanced in ninth place. He turned it up a notch in the second final round (12 skiers), getting down the course quickly and surprising with a strong first jump to get 23.32 points. A conservative second jump nearly cost him a spot in the third and final final (sic), but he grabbed the last spot.

Deneen went first in the final and once again went very fast, racking up time points. But he had a difficult first landing and again had a conservative second jump, good for only 22.16 points.

What happened: It was a compressed day of competition — two qualification rounds (excluding the lucky 10 who qualified from the first round), then three final rounds. The qualification rounds were in soft snow, and many skiers struggled with their landings and turns. Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith, 2006 gold medalist and 2010 silver medalist, didn’t complete a clean run and failed to advance.

Canada’s Alex Bilodeau had a shaky run in the first final but got through in eighth place. Japanese contender Sho Endo did not, despite landing one of the more spectacular jumps of the competition, with more twists than most people can count with the naked eye.

In the second final, which cut the field down from 12 to six, Bilodeau came back with 23.89 points. Two of his Canadian teammates, Mikael Kingsbury (24.54) and Marc-Antoine Gagnon (24.16) bested that mark and left Deneen sweating on the qualification bubble. But the fourth Canadian, Philippe Marquis, came up short and looked surprised when the scores were announced. That left three Canadians, Deneen, Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Reiherd and Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlyaev in the final.

After Deneen’s run, Reiherd landed a fancy twisting second jump to move into first. Smyshlyaev beat that with a sensational run for 24.34 points.

Up came the Canadians. Defending champion Bilodeau set a very high bar at 26.31. But Gagnon spoiled the sweep possibility at 23.35, finishing behind Smyshlyaev. It all came down to favorite Kingsbury, who did exactly the same jumps as Bilodeau but was a little off on the first landing. It was 24.71 for Kingsbury, and it was a Canadian 1-2.

Full results

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Sochi recap: Freestyle skiing, women’s moguls

The Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters are the moguls of women’s moguls. They finished 1-2, just ahead of defending champion Hannah Kearney.

Date: 8- Feb

Sport: Freestyle skiing

Event: Women’s moguls

Medalists: Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Hannah Kearney (USA)

SportsMyriad projections: Hannah Kearney (USA), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Heather McPhie (USA)

How U.S. fared: McPhie, who had to get through a qualifying round in the morning, was unlucky 13th in the first round of the finals, missing out on Round 2. Kearney took a basic “survive and advance” approach in that first round with a good but not great run, good for seventh place. Then she blasted her way through the second round with a 21.93, best of the day so far. Eliza Outtrim went the other way — second in the first round, fifth of the six qualifiers (21.53) in the semis. She was a little shaky off the first jump in the final.

Heidi Kloser, sadly, couldn’t participate after a devastating knee injury in practice before Thursday’s qualifying.

Outtrim looked a little sluggish in the final and finished sixth. Kearney had a little bobble off the first kicker, and that was enough to deny her a repeat gold.

What happened: Did the sheer number of runs in one day overwhelm the field? Japan’s Aiko Uemura was quickly down the course in 30.46 seconds and opened the final with a 20.66, and then the next two (Outtrim and Australia’s Britteny Cox) failed to break 20.

That left the door open for two of the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters (Maxime was 12th in the second final) and Kearney. Justine was flawless, getting big marks in the air to take the lead with a 22.44. Chloe was only slightly behind, nearly matching Justine’s turns to get a 21.66. That guaranteed two podium places for the sisters.

It all came down to Kearney. She ripped down the course in 31.04 seconds, faster than either Canadian. Her air scores roughly matched Justine’s. But she was marked down on the turns, finishing third.

Quote: “I think I really gave it away is what I felt like. I felt like it was mine to ski for.” – Hannah Kearney

Full results

2014 medal projections: Freestyle skiing

Updated Jan. 14 and 21 and Feb. 5

Want new events? We’ve got your new events right here — slopestyle and halfpipe. They’re not just for snowboarders any more.

Yes, the X Games-ification of the Olympics continues, and that might mean more medal opportunities for the USA. But the rest of the world has a pretty good headstart, so don’t count on it.

Unlike some of the sports we’ve been covering, there’s very little overlap between events here. If you do aerials, you don’t do moguls. Some halfpipe skiers do slopestyle, and vice versa, but that’s about it. So the formatting here will be slightly different.

One neat thing to note: The World Cup stopped at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing in December for an aerials competition. I can’t think of another venue to host Olympic track and field and World Cup freestyle skiing.

One sad thing to note: This sport has been struck by tragedy in the last Olympic cycle. Aerials silver medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson took his own life in 2011. Then halfpipe pioneer Sarah Burke died in a training accident in 2012.

To the slopes, moguls, aerial ramps and halfpipes we go …

MEN

Aerials

Gold: Qi Guangpu (China)
Silver: Jia Zongyang (China)
Bronze: Travis Gerrits (Canada)

Also considered: Alexei Grishin (Belarus), Anton Kushnir (Belarus). Removed Dylan Ferguson (USA), who didn’t qualify, and Olivier Rochon (Canada), who’s injured.

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Jia Zongyang (China), David Morris (Australia), Qi Guangpu (China), Ferguson, Travis Gerrits (Canada), Dmitri Dashinski (Belarus), Maxim Gustik (Belarus), Denis Osipau (Belarus)

2013 World Championship top 8: Qi, Gerrits, Jia, Liu Zhongqing (China), Morris, Oleksandr Abramenko (Ukraine), Christopher Lambert (Switzerland), Wu Chao (China)

2010 Olympic medalists: Grishin, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (USA), Liu Zhongqing (China)

Moguls

Gold: Mikael Kingsbury (Canada)
Silver: Alex Bilodeau (Canada)
Bronze: Patrick Deneen (USA)

Also considered: Sho Endo (Japan), Bradley Wilson (USA)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Kingsbury, Bilodeau, Deneen, Wilson, Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Canada), Endo, Philippe Marquis (Canada), Dylan Walczyk (USA)

2013 World Championship top 8 (moguls): Kingsbury, Bilodeau, Deneen, Matt Graham (Australia), Jae-Woo Choi (South Korea), Per Spett (Sweden), Brodie Summers (Australia), Wilson

2013 World Championship top 8 (dual moguls): Bilodeau, Kingsbury, Deneen, Spett, Endo, Sam Hall (Australia), Marquis, Jimi Salonen (Finland)

2010 Olympic medalists: Bilodeau, Dale Begg-Smith (Australia), Bryon Wilson (USA)

Skicross

Gold: Alex Fiva (Switzerland)
Silver: Dave Duncan (Canada)
Bronze: Andreas Matt (Austria)

Also considered: Jean Frederic Chapuis (France), Chris Del Bosco (Canada), Filip Flisar (Slovenia), Victor Oehling Norberg (Sweden)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Fiva, Armin Niederer (Switzerland), Norberg, Chapuis, Brady Leman (Canada), Flisar, Tomas Kraus (Czech Republic), Jouni Pellinen (Finland)

2013 World Championship top 8: Chapuis, Bastien Midol (France), John Teller (USA), Pellinen, Flisar, Del Bosco, Anton Grimus (Australia), Marco Tomasi (Italy)

2012 Winter X Games: Del Bosco, Flisar, Duncan, Pellinen

2010 Olympic medalists: Michael Schmid (Switzerland), Matt, Audun Groenvold (Norway)

Slopestyle

Gold: Nick Goepper (USA)
Silver: Gus Kenworthy (USA)
Bronze: James Woods (Britain)

Also considered: Bobby Brown (USA), Joss Christiansen (USA), Oscar Wester (Sweden). Removed Tom Wallisch (USA), who didn’t qualify

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Woods, Johan Berg (Norway), Oscar Wester (Sweden), Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Canada), Lyman Currier (USA), Fabian Boesch (Switzerland), Laurent de Martin (Switzerland), Jonas Hunziker (Switzerland)

2013 World Championship top 8: Wallisch, Woods, Goepper, Andreas Haatveit (Norway), Antoine Adelisse (France), Kenworthy, Wester, Beau-James Wells (New Zealand)

2013 X Games Aspen medalists: Goepper, Henrik Harlaut (Sweden), Woods

2013 X Games Tignes medalists: McRae Williams (USA), Jossi Wells (New Zealand), Kenworthy

Halfpipe

Gold: David Wise (USA)
Silver: Torin Yater-Wallace (USA)
Bronze: Mike Riddle (Canada)

Also considered: Justin Dorey (Canada), Thomas Krief (France), Kevin Rolland (France)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Riddle, Yater-Wallace, Wise, Aaron Blunck (USA), Krief, Antti-Jussi Kemppainen (Finland), Gus Kenworthy (USA), Matt Margetts (Canada)

2013 World Championship top 8: Wise, Yater-Wallace, Krief, Riddle, Kemppainen, Blunck, Kevin Rolland (France), Simon Dumont (USA)

2013 X Games Aspen medalists: Wise, Yater-Wallace, Dumont

2013 X Games Tignes medalists: Yater-Wallace, Wise, Rolland

WOMEN

Aerials

Gold: Xu Mengtao (China)
Silver: Lydia Lassila (Australia)
Bronze: Danielle Scott (Australia)

Also considered: Ashley Caldwell (USA), Emily Cook (USA), pretty much anyone else from China or Australia who makes the team

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Xu, Cook, Lassila, Laura Peel (Australia), Zhang Xin (China), Yang Yu (China), Nadiya Didenko (Ukraine), Scott

2013 World Championship top 8: Xu, Veronika Korsunova (Russia), Scott, Xu Sicun (China), Lassila, Samantha Wells (Australia), Tanja Schaerer (Switzerland), Peel

2010 Olympic medalists: Lassila, Li Nina (China), Guo Xinxin (China)

Moguls

Gold: Hannah Kearney (USA)
Silver: Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada)
Bronze: Heather McPhie (USA)

Also considered: Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Miki Ito (Japan)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Kearney, J. Dufour-Lapointe, McPhie, Eliza Outtrim (USA), C. Dufour-Lapointe, Ito, Aiko Uemura (Japan), Nikola Sudova (Czech Republic)

2013 World Championship top 8 (moguls): Kearney, Ito, J. Dufour-Lapointe, McPhie, Uemura, Arisa Murata (Japan), Sudova, C. Dufour-Lapointe

2013 World Championship top 8 (dual moguls): C. Dufour-Lapointe, Ito, Kearney, McPhie, Murata, Sudova, Andi Naude (Canada), Britteny Cox (Australia)

2010 Olympic medalists: Kearney, Jennifer Heil (Canada), Shannon Bahrke (USA)

Skicross

Gold: Fanny Smith (Switzerland)
Silver: Ophelie David (France)
Bronze: Marielle Thompson (Canada)

Also considered: Katrin Mueller (Switzerland), Kelsey Serwa (Canada)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Smith, David, Marielle Berger Sabbatel (France), Serwa, Mueller, Marte Gjefsen (Norway), Thompson, Georgia Simmerling (Canada)

2013 World Championship top 8: Smith, Thompson, David, Jorinde Mueller (Switzerland), Anna Woerner (Germany), Katrin Ofner (Austria), Alizee Baron (France), Katya Crema (Australia)

2012 Winter X Games: Gjefsen, Hedda Berntsen (Norway), Jenny Owens (Australia)

2010 Olympic medalists: Ashleigh McIvor (Canada), Berntsen, Marion Josserand (France)

Slopestyle

Gold: Kaya Turski (Canada)
Silver: Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen (Norway)
Bronze: Keri Herman (USA)

Also considered: Dara Howell (Canada), Devin Logan (USA)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Herman, Christiansen, Howell, Anna Segal (Australia), Alexi Micinski (USA), Anna Willcox-Silfverberg (New Zealand), Dominique Ohaco (Chile), Chiho Takao (Japan)

2013 World Championship top 8: Turski, Howell, Grete Eliassen (USA), Katie Summerhayes (Britain), Yuki Tsubota (Canada), Micinski, Jamie Crane-Mauzy (USA), Natalia Slepecka (Slovakia)

2013 X Games Aspen medalists: Christiansen, Turski, Howell

2013 X Games Tignes medalists: Turski, Christiansen, Howell

Halfpipe

Gold: Virginie Faivre (Switzerland)
Silver: Roz Groenewoud (Canada)
Bronze: Maddie Bowman (USA)

Also considered: Marie Martinod (France), Ayana Onozuka (Japan)

World Cup 2012-13 top 8: Faivre, Groenewoud, Onozuka, Bowman, Mirjam Jaeger (Switzerland), Keltie Hansen (Canada), Annalisa Drew (USA), Katrien Aerts (Belgium)

2013 World Championship top 8: Faivre, Anais Caradeux (France), Onozuka, Manami Mitsuboshi (Japan), Martinod, Angeli Vanlaanen (USA), Hansen, Jaeger

2013 X Games Aspen medalists: Bowman, Groenewoud, Megan Gunning

2013 X Games Tignes medalists: Martinod, Caradeux, Bowman

BIOS

Men

Aerials

Dylan Ferguson (USA): Back-to-back fourth-place World Cup seasons. Missed 2010 Olympics after complications with his appendix. Controversially omitted from team.

Travis Gerrits (Canada): Breakthrough season in 2013: Fifth in World Cup, second in World Championships.

Qi Guangpu (China): 2011 World Cup champion, 2013 world champion (second in 2011).

David Morris (Australia): Second in 2013 World Cup.

Jia Zongyang (China): Last four World Cup seasons: third, fourth, second, first.

Moguls

Alex Bilodeau (Canada): Olympic champion. 2009 World Cup champion; second in 2011 and 2013. Back-to-back-to-back world champion in dual moguls; back-to-back runner-up in moguls.

Patrick Deneen (USA): Top four in last three World Cup seasons. 2009 world champion.

Sho Endo (Japan): Good year in 2013 – sixth in World Cup, fifth in dual moguls at World Championships.

Mikael Kingsbury (Canada): Back-to-back World Cup champion, the first at age 19. Four straight podiums in 2011 and 2013 World Championship moguls/dual moguls.

Bradley Wilson (USA): Fourth in 2013 World Cup at age 20.

Skicross

Jean Frederic Chapuis (France): Some decent results then a big bang to end the 2013 season — world championship, third and first in last two World Cup races.

Chris Del Bosco (Canada): Two-time X Games champion and 2011 world champion. Second in World Cup three straight years (2009-11). Not too active in 2013 but was second in World Cup race in Sochi.

Dave Duncan (Canada): Broke collarbone just before 2010 Olympics. Has a couple of X Games medals.

Alex Fiva (Switzerland): World Cup 2013 champion is consistently in top places on Cup circuit but hasn’t broken through in big events.

Filip Flisar (Slovenia): A few World Cup wins and the season title in 2012. Has videos devoted to his mustache.

Armin Niederer (Switzerland): Several good results in World Cup.

Victor Oehling Norberg (Sweden): Breakthrough 2013 season included win in Sochi.

John Teller (USA): Wildly inconsistent, though that’s somewhat explained by the nature of the event.

Slopestyle

Nick Goepper (USA): Turns 20 after the Olympics. Already has an X Games gold and World Championship bronze.

Gus Kenworthy (USA): Rare two-event threat nearly made team in halfpipe as well.

Tom Wallisch (USA): Won 2012 X Games Aspen and 2013 world title, along with several Dew Tour stops. Then he didn’t make the Olympic team. Tough competition.

James Woods (Britain): Longest hair in Britain?

Halfpipe

Simon Dumont (USA): Ever seen the video of him falling 80 feet? He recovered and started his own competition, the Dumont Cup, to let newcomers compete alongside pros. And he has a nice safe side career racing cars. Several X Games medals.

Mike Riddle (Canada): 2011 world champion and 2013 World Cup champion.

David Wise (USA): 2013 X Games Aspen and world champion. Also 2012 X Games Aspen.

Torin Yater-Wallace (USA): Won a 2011 X Games medal at age 15. Now has a couple of X Games Tignes gold medalst, plus second place in the 2013 World Championship and World Cup.

Women

Aerials

Emily Cook (USA): Started competing in 1998 and had best World Cup season in 2013. Competed in two Olympics and seven world championships — best result is fourth in 2009.

Lydia Lassila (Australia): Olympic champion and 2009 World Cup champion took time off to start a family, then came back with strong 2013 season.

Danielle Scott (Australia): Consistent top-five finisher in second World Cup season.

Xu Mengtao (China): Back-to-back World Cup champion. Two-time World Championship runner-up before winning it in 2013. Sixth in 2010 Olympics — has finished no lower than third in World Cup competition since then.

Zhang Xin (China): 11 World Cup podiums.

Moguls

Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Canada): The Venus to Justine’s Serena — the older sister with two World Championship medals in dual moguls.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada): Two-time World Cup season runner-up before her 19th birthday.

Hannah Kearney (USA): Won four of the last five World Cup titles. On the podium for all moguls and dual moguls World Championship events in 2011 and 2013. Won 16 straight World Cup events in 2011 and 2012, then eight of the last 14.

Heather McPhie (USA): Top five in last four World Cup seasons — every position except first. Fourth place in last three World Championship events.

Skicross

Hedda Berntsen (Norway): Former Alpine skier has Olympic and X Games medals. Competed little in 2013.

Ophelie David (France): Four-time X Games winner, 2007 world champion and seven-time World Cup champion crashed in the 2010 Olympic quarterfinals. Back to try again at age 37.

Kelsey Serwa (Canada): 2011 world champion kept out of 2013 event due to injury. Fifth in 2010 Olympics.

Fanny Smith (Switzerland): World Cup champion and world champion at age 20. Seventh in 2010 Olympics at age 17.

Marielle Thompson (Canada): 2012 World Cup champion and 2013 World Championship runner-up. Then won the junior world championship.

Slopestyle

Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen (Norway): 18-year-old has two X Games medals and was 2013 World Cup runner-up.

Keri Herman (USA): Lots of X Games silver and the 2013 World Cup title.

Dara Howell (Canada): Not yet 20, three-time X Games medalist and World Championship silver medalist.

Kaya Turski (Canada): 2013 world champion and three-time X Games champion.

Halfpipe

Maddie Bowman (USA): Turns 20 in January. Moved up from 2012 X Games Aspen silver to gold in 2013.

Virginie Faivre (Switzerland): Three-time World Cup champion and two-time world champion. Rarely finishes off the podium.

Roz Groenewoud (Canada): 2011 world champion, 2012 X Games Aspen winner. Close friend of late halfpipe pioneer Sarah Burke.

Ayana Onozuka (Japan): Scant competition record but mostly top-fives.

Marie Martinod (France): Took seven-year break to start a family, then came back to chase the Olympics. 3-for-3 in halfpipe competition in 2004 World Cup season. Didn’t compete again on World Cup circuit until January 2013, winning in Copper Mountain.