Kingsbury defeats rival Horishima to win men's moguls World Cup season opener

Canada's Mikaël Kingsbury began the 2022-23 World Cup campaign in familiar territory on Saturday, winning for the 75th time on the men's moguls circuit. He beat rival Ikuma Horishima of Japan and Australia's Matt Graham. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press/File - image credit)
Canada's Mikaël Kingsbury began the 2022-23 World Cup campaign in familiar territory on Saturday, winning for the 75th time on the men's moguls circuit. He beat rival Ikuma Horishima of Japan and Australia's Matt Graham. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press/File - image credit)

Reigning Olympic silver medallist Mikaël Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., opened the men's moguls season with his 75th World Cup victory on Saturday in Ruka, Finland.

Kingsbury collected 84.50 points on his second and final run to beat his Japanese rival Ikuma Horishima, who scored 80.48. Matt Graham of Australia was third with 80.12.

Kingsbury had the final run of the day and was surprised when he heard his competition's scores.

"They were lower than what I expected but I just had to stick to my game plan, do what I wanted to do," Kingsbury said after his 10th career win in Ruka. "It's nice that I was able to improve my scores from the Final 1 to the super final."

Gabriel Dufresne, the only other Canadian to advance beyond the qualifiers, placed 11th (75.24) in his 54th World Cup appearance.

Kingsbury, who has reached a World Cup podium 145 times in his storied career, qualified first for the finals with a 79.06-point performance before posting 83.36 in his opening run.

WATCH | Kingsbury begins moguls season with World Cup gold:

Now in his 12th season on the World Cup circuit, Kingsbury said he's as motivated as ever.

"I'm always excited for the first race of the season. So I've never had a problem with motivation, really," said Kingsbury. "I want to be there. I want to be the last guy to go. I want to be in those positions. I want to feel nervous."

Kingsbury's six world championship gold medals and 10 overall World Cup titles are records becoming virtually untouchable as he gears up to add to them this season.

The 30-year-old won Olympic gold in 2018, silver in 2014 and silver again last February in Beijing.

Elliot Vaillancourt (Drummondville, Que., 18th), Kerrian Chunlaud (Sainte-Foy, Que., 22nd), Alexandre Lavoie (Quebec City, 23rd), Daniel Tanner (Calgary, 33rd) and Julien Viel (Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que., 38th) were all eliminated in the qualification rounds.

Laurianne Desmarais-Gilbert (Sainte-Adele, Que.) and Maia Schwinghammer (Saskatoon), also missed making the top 16 in the preliminaries and moving to the first elimination round.

WATCH | Kingsbury collects 2022 Olympic silver in Beijing: