ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Mikael Kingsbury didn't let an injury early this season stop him from regaining his dominant form for the most important event of the moguls campaign.
After missing the first three World Cups of the season because of a back injury, Kingsbury captured gold on Monday at the world championships.
The 28-year-old from Deux-Montagnes, Que., who fractured his T4, T5 vertebrae during a training run late last year, claimed his third career world crown in the freestyle ski discipline.
"Because of my injury, I missed three races. I won both races in Deer Valley (Utah) on my return (last month), but I'm running out of time for the (season title). For sure it’s not fun," Kingsbury said.
"But in 2021, I'm the world champion. That's why it's special to me. I’m coming out with the title that everyone wanted.”
The reigning Olympic champion beat out Benjamin Cavet of France and Pavel Kolmakov of Kazakhstan, who took silver and bronze, respectively.
“Today, I was the fastest in the super final, I got the best points for the technical elements and I did the most difficult jumps," Kingsbury said. “To do it at the world championships, to win by five points, it's pretty huge in my sport. Seriously, it's a perfect day."
Kingsbury will compete in dual moguls Tuesday.
He's won a world title in that event twice in his career, making him a five-time world champion overall.
"This title of world champion is as big for me as an Olympic gold medal," Kingsbury said. “To have succeeded for the fifth time in your career, it's incredible."
Kingsbury feels good about his chances for double gold.
“This victory gives me confidence," he said.
Laurent Dumais of Quebec City was sixth on Monday, Brenden Kelly of Pemberton, B.C., was 17th, Kerrian Chunlaud of Ste-Foy, Que., was 22nd and Gabriel Dufresne of Repentigny, Que., was 33rd.
In the women's event, Perrine Laffont of France won gold.
Montreal sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe were 12th and 16th, respectively. Sofiane Gagnon of Whistler, B.C., was 19th.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.
The Canadian Press