Winter Olympics: Qualifying success 'the icing on the cake' for Kingsbury after return from broken back

By Sports Desk February 03, 2022 889

Freestyle skiing star Mikael Kingsbury declared qualifying for the men's moguls final "the icing on the cake" as the defending champion began his Beijing 2022 campaign with a flawless run.

Kingsbury, who won gold at Pyeongchang 2018, suffered a broken back in 2020, fracturing his T4 and T5 vertebrae in training.

He has returned to top form, however, and is heavily fancied to retain his Olympic title after achieving a score of 81.15 at Genting Snow Park in the Zhangjiakou zone on Thursday to qualify automatically for Saturday's final in first place.

Kingsbury has won the most medals at the Freestyle World Championships of any male skier in history and is the reigning world champion in the moguls.

But to be back in contention at the Winter Games is extra special for the Canadian after his injury hell.

"It's been a tough year and a half," Kingsbury told Olympics.com. "And even though we're all wearing masks, it's awesome to be competing.

"I've been dreaming of going to the Olympics since I was a kid and just to be here is so amazing, it's a huge accomplishment just to be able to ski on the Olympic course and to do well is the icing on the cake.

"I'm just very satisfied with my skiing and the progression that I made to the Olympics. And now I feel ready to compete and to perform. And I think the results show today."

Reflecting on his performance, he said: "Great run, difficult conditions, very cold. I did the job that I wanted, I didn't try to do too much. I just did exactly what I needed to do for qualification.

"I know I'm capable of better skiing and jumping a bit better, but for right now, I'm satisfied, and I get a good day off tomorrow to chat with my coaches and come up with a plan to come from stronger for Saturday."

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Last modified on Thursday, 03 February 2022 15:30
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