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- Canadian freestyle skier
Make it 66 career moguls victories on the World Cup circuit for Mikaël Kingsbury.
The reigning Olympic and world champion from Deux-Montagnes, Que., topped the field of 61 finishers at Saturday's season-opening event, scoring 82.99 points in Ruka, Finland.
It was a much more enjoyable day for the 29-year-old after he fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae in his back on Nov. 29, 2020, while training ahead of the season opener in Ruka.
Pavel Kolmakov of Kazakhstan was second (82.10) in Saturday's competition while Japan's Ikoma Horishima (81.12) rounded out the medal podium.
WATCH | Kingsbury relieves some 'pressure' with season-opening win:
"It's incredible. I was injured last year and I missed the Ruka event, which is one of my favourite events of the season," Kingsbury said in a statement released by Freestyle Canada. "Today feels a bit like redemption. Starting the season on a high note takes some of the pressure off.
"In 2017, I won here before heading to the Olympics. Hopefully, things will go the same way this year."
WATCH | Kinsgbury discusses back injury:
Kingsbury won the first qualifying run, the lone Canadian to automatically advance to the first final. He then gained a berth in the second final with a fourth-place finish.
Fellow Canadians Kerrian Chunlaud of Ste-Foy, Que., and Brenden Kelly of Pemberton, B.C., finished inside the top 20 in 17th and 18th, respectively, while Gabriel Dufresne of Joliette, Que., and Elliot Vaillancourt of Drummondville, Que., placed 25th and 36th.
In March, Kingsbury won the dual moguls event at the world championship, one day after capturing the moguls crown in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
On the women's side, Montreal's Chloé Dufour-Lapointe was top Canadian but not among the top six to advance, finishing 12th.
Next weekend, the moguls World Cup tour stops in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, featuring individual and dual events.