Canadian moguls king Mikael Kingsbury prepares to compete again after injury

·3 min read

CALGARY — A place that gives Mikael Kingsbury confidence is doing it again, but for different reasons.

The reigning men's Olympic and world moguls champion from Deux-Montagnes, Que., is fine-turning his comeback from back fractures in Calgary ahead of his planned return to competition next week.

Kingsbury has won World Cup gold in Calgary nine times over the last decade, and placed second the lone time he didn't.

Those victories were fuel for nine consecutive overall World Cup titles in men's moguls.

The 28-year-old is using the Canada Olympic Park course to be ready for his first World Cup of this season Feb. 4 in Deer Valley, Utah.

"It's giving me what I need," Kingsbury told The Canadian Press. "What I need is time to boost my confidence, feel good and get all the timing back and the course right now is doing that for me."

Kingsbury fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae Nov. 29 while training for the season-opening World Cup in Ruka, Finland.

A man who hadn't missed a World Cup start in his decade-long career was sidelined for the season's first three. Doctors gave Kingsbury the green light Jan. 8 to start skiing again.

"The biggest test for me is the next few days when I'm going to push a little bit more, but I'm confident," he said. "I feel like I'll be ready to compete.

"I won't have as much training as most people, but I have a lot of experience and I think I know how to deal with this situation with less training."

Kingsbury's initial target for his return to competition was a pair of Calgary World Cups on Thursday and Friday, but those events were rescheduled and eventually cancelled during his recovery.

"I think I would have been ready for this weekend," Kingsbury said. "Calgary has always been a course that I like and where I perform."

Kingsbury owns 63 career World Cup victories in 109 starts. He's stood on the podium 91 times.

Kingsbury doesn't know how much competition he'll get this season after Deer Valley.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on international sport.

Freestyle Canada and Canada Snowboard pursued the world freestyle and snowboard championships for Calgary as a replacement site when China cancelled, but plans for a Feb. 24-March 14 event at Canada Olympic Park fell apart.

So Kingsbury doesn't yet know if he'll compete in a world championship this year.

The only other moguls World Cup left on the calendar for him is March 13-14 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Kingsbury isn't confident that event will go ahead.

"It's crazy a little bit," Kingsbury said. "We get curveballs every day. I call them knuckleballs now because they move even more than curveballs."

"Right now, I control what I can and I'm going to do my best to perform in Deer Valley."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press