Canada's Bilodeau repeats in Olympic men's moguls

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014
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At times, it appeared both were intimidated by the stage. While they dominated qualifying, they were hardly sharp in the first knockout round.

Kingsbury slogged to one of the slowest times of the competition while Bilodeau nearly fell on his backside after landing his first jump and finished eighth, uncomfortably close to the 12-man cutoff.

Still, it ultimately came down to what is has repeatedly come down to in most of the past four years, the 26-year-old Bilodeau against the 21-year-old Kingsbury in a fight for supremacy.

In the end, it wasn't close. The final margin was the moguls equivalent of a three-touchdown blowout in football. Kingsbury flashed a wry smile after crossing the finish line, knowing he'd been beaten. The two friendly rivals embraced, though it was Bilodeau who flashed the "No. 1" sign during the flower ceremony.

It's a title Bilodeau — who is retiring at the end of the season — figures he won't hold for long.

"That kid next to me is going to win two in a row also," he said while pointing to Kingsbury.

The experience of surviving in less than perfect conditions will only help.

Instead of powdery snow that allows racers to carve graceful turns at near breakneck speeds, nearly half of the field either veered off course or tumbled head over skis during qualifying.

And the mistakes weren't limited to the also-rans. Pat Deneen of the U.S. was hung up midway down the mountain in his first qualifying run and he angrily bulled through one of the gates marking the end of the slope before making his way to the bottom. While he recovered to top the second qualifying run and make it to the finals, defending Olympic silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith of Australia did not.

The gold medalist at Turin in 2006 was attempting to make a comeback after taking three years off to deal with a rash of injuries. He was sloppy during the first run before disaster struck in the second. Less than 50 feet from getting through a run clean enough to advance to the medal round, Begg-Smith couldn't get his skis over in time while completing his second jump. He smashed into the muck, his face a mixture of stunned disbelief and disgust. It marked the first time Begg-Smith missed out on the finals since 2005.

But claiming one last medal, however, would have been a long shot at best for Begg-Smith following his sabbatical.

The sport he once dominated has moved on without him, as the Canadians have separated themselves from the rest of the world — a gap that shows no signs of closing.