Heil, Colas take single moguls World titles, Kearney silver
On one of the coldest days of the year in Deer Valley, Utah, moguls skiers Jennifer Heil of Canada and Guilbaut Colas of France secured World Championship titles today (Feb. 2). It was both skiers’ first single moguls Worlds victory.
Temperatures were in the low single digits though skies were cloudless as competition at the 2011 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Championships kicked off with men’s and women’s single moguls competitions.
First up were the women. An Olympic rematch materialized as American Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney qualified second behind Heil (Olympic silver medalist). Kearney collected a higher turn score and the fastest time down the 246-meter course but it came down to the airs as Heil, the last woman down the 2002 Olympic course, topped Kearney 4.80 to 4.19. Heil’s total score came to 24.35 ahead of Kearney’s 24.31. It was Heil’s fifth trip to a Worlds podium. She has two gold medals in dual moguls and two silvers in single moguls.
“This is my favorite course in the world,” said Heil who has pulled in eight World Cup podiums here and will retire at the end of the season. ”I was standing at the top of the course and heard Hannah's score and I new I needed to lay down a great one."
Heil’s win makes her the first mogul skier to win the ‘grand slam’ of freestyle titles, including: Olympic Champion; World Champion Single Moguls; World Champion Dual Moguls; World Cup Mogul Champion; World Cup Overall Freestyle Champion; and, FIS Rookie of the Year.
Kearney earned her third Worlds medal. She took gold in Ruka, Finland in 2005 and bronze in Inawashiro, Japan in 2009.
“I missed my grab on my bottom air and therefor the trick was incomplete and the score reflected that,” said Kearney, who leads the World Cup standings with six consecutive singles World Cup wins.“But, you can look at the bright side. It’s still a silver medal with a mistake, that leaves room for improvement next week, keeps things exciting. A dual between the two of us might have some more meaning.”
Canadian Kristi Richards, World Champion in 2007, rounded out the podium in third with 23.71 points.
Four American women represented the host country in the finals as Eliza Outtrim finished fifth and Heather McPhie (World Cup winner here last season) followed in sixth.
Colas, who is the current overall World Cup leader with three wins this season, took the men’s contest with a score of 26.26 over Canadians Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau in second and 18-year-old Mikael Kingsbury in third.
“I’m so happy, I can’t believe I can be on the podium. Being third in World Championships, it’s unbelievable," said Kingsbury. "I have dreamed of this since I was like 12 years old, so it’s pretty big. Next World Championships, the goal will be to win it.”
The win marked Colas' second career World Championships medal. He won a silver medal in dual moguls in 2007.
American Jeremy Cota led the home team in fourth, missing the podium by .83 points.
"I was happy with the way I skied," said Cota. "I’m excited about the
way my skiing is coming. I have spent a lot of time working on my
Defending Worlds gold medalist, American Patrick Deneen finished sixth with a score of 24.14. Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson did not qualify for finals.
World Championships competition continues tomorrow with men’s and women’s slopestyle finals. The moguls skiers will be back in action with duals competitions on Saturday night.
Images by Marcus Caston
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