Canadian Mikael Kingsbury celebrates winning his gold medal at the moguls finals at the Phoenix Snow Park at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury wins top male athlete of the year honours

Kingsbury won the moguls and dual moguls at the 2019 freestyle world championship in February

Mikael Kingsbury is truly a dominant force.

Kingsbury has nine wins in 11 World Cup starts the past two years. And the native of Deux Montagnes, Que., whose career average surpasses one victory for every two events (63 wins in 114 starts), shows no signs of slowing down.

In February, Kingsbury won the moguls and dual moguls at the 2019 freestyle world championship — a goal that was close to his heart after a disappointing performance two years earlier in Spain.

“I think that was the highlight of my 2019 season, to win the back-to-back at the world championships the year after the Olympics, and just hold all the titles right now,” he said.

After capturing an eighth consecutive Crystal Globe as season champion, Kingsbury is also a repeat winner of the Lionel Conacher Award, given annually to Canada’s top male athlete.

Kingsbury received 15 of 71 votes (21.1 per cent) in a Canadian Press survey of sports editors, reporters and broadcasters in newsrooms across the country.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka, who finished runner-up in National League rookie of the year voting after compiling a 13-4 record with a 2.68 ERA, finished second with 10 votes. Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and sprinter Andre De Grasse followed with nine votes each.

Tennis player Denis Shapovalov, Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid, St. Louis Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly and Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris each got six votes. Tennis player Felix Auger-Aliassime (3 votes) and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (1 vote) also made the list.

Tennis player Bianca Andreescu was named female athlete of the year Thursday. The team of the year will be announced Saturday.

Kingsbury said it was “super special” to regain top form in Utah after a disappointing performance in 2017.

“I didn’t have the world championships I wanted in Spain, and in the 2019 season the world championships were in Deer Valley, and this is kind of where my dream started in mogul skiing,” he said.

“When I watched my first Olympics on TV, it was in Deer Valley on that course.”

ALSO READ: Tennis star Bianca Andreescu named The Canadian Press female athlete of the year

Voters recognized his accomplishments.

“He continues to dominate his sport as nobody has before,” wrote Sylvain St-Laurent, head of sports for Le Droit d’Ottawa, to explain his vote for Kingsbury.

“I don’t think it’s wrong to say he’s the best freestyle skier in the world and he can even be considered the best of all time, given his accomplishments,” wrote Anthony Bruno of Global News.

Another legend of the sport said Kingsbury’s mental strength makes him so dominant.

“His passion for the sport, above all,” said retired skier Jean-Luc Brassard, who won gold in moguls at the 1994 Olympics. “He’s also someone who has an insatiable pleasure to compete, not to mention his exemplary diligence in training.”

“He also has an incredible capacity for anticipation. And since he also practised acrobatic jumps at the start of his career, he has a wealth of experience. He’s ahead of his time since he’s mastered jumps that aren’t even authorized in competition yet. “

Michel Hamelin, the moguls team trainer who has known Kingsbury since he was 10 years old, noted Kingsbury’s ability to adapt to different circumstances.

“In moguls, it’s difficult because the courses change constantly,” he said. “So, to win competition after competition the way Mick does, I find that exceptional.”

Hamelin said the secret to Kingsbury’s longevity at the top of the sport also reflects his undiminished love of taking on challenges.

“Like a kid who has fun with toys, Mick does that with his sport,” Hamelin said.

While he has fun in competition, the 27-year-old takes nothing for granted.

“I love watching videos of my sport. I have videos of all the World Cups since 2002, and I know the descents of all the winners,” he said.

Kingsbury also appears to be immune to pressure.

“I love competition. You see a lot of skiers training, but its a different story on course because of the stress and the pressure to do well,” Kingsbury said. “Me, I’m fueled by pressure, by competition.

“In the summer, what I miss the most is not skiing, it’s being in the starting gate, the last to go, having all the spotlights on me and having the feeling that I can stand out.”

Kingsbury appears to take pleasure in having a target on his back.

“We still have a few little things he hasn’t tried yet in competition, whether it’s jumps with grabs, a little higher amplitudes, with one more spin,” Hamelin said. “We should be going in that direction this year.”

Kingsbury, for his part, says he still has goals to reach.

“In World Cups, it’s far from a perfect record,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m going to win every race, but continuing to take risks, to ski to the best of my abilities and stay consistent,” he said.

After taking a break over the next two weeks, Kingsbury will be back on the prowl for his ninth consecutive Crystal Globe in front of his home crowd at Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant at the end of January.

Marc Delbes, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Lacombe partners with Vesta to support community initiatives

Mayor Creasey yesterday a $20,000 contribution from Vern Crone, production manager for Vesta Energy

Cody Dennis Memorial Game returns to Blackfalds for 16th year

Memorial game raises funds for Blackfalds Minor Hockey

Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre, LPAC team up for youth production of ‘Much More Munsch’

Youth ages 8-17 have been rehearsing original play since November

PHOTOS: Lacombe’s Nowco Home Hardware donates to Safe Harbour Society

Two large loads of warm clothing, mitts and McDonald’s gift cards donated

Lacombe County, Summer Village of Gull Lake sign Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework

Agreement specifies what and how services are funded and delivered

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Alberta premier wants federal government to do more about opioid imports

Jason Kenney says Canada should find ways to cut down on drugs being smuggled into the country

Alberta Energy Regulator laying off staff, restructures, deals with budget cuts

Gordon Lambert, interim CEO, says the changes are part of a restructuring

Energy companies owe more than double the tax to Alberta municipalities

Survey says communities are owed $173 million — up 114% since last spring

No gondola from Banff to Mount Norquay, feds say

Parks Canada dismisses proposal for gondola, Grizzly Pavilion and boardwalks

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Most Read