Justine Dufour-Lapointe loves winning freestyle skiing medals. But every event, every run, is all about smaller objectives for the Montreal native.
Dufour-Lapointe added to her Olympic gold medal by winning the world moguls title on Sunday, while Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., took silver in the men’s event.
Dufour-Lapointe, who earned bronze at the 2013 worlds in Norway, scored 87.25 points in the final. Defending champion Hannah Kearney of the United States, who took the title in 2005 and again two years ago, won silver with 85.66, while Brittney Cox of Australia gained 81.98 for the bronze medal.
“Every time I’m going to a competition I’m asking myself what my one true objective is. What my one true goal is that I’m setting by myself,” said Dufour-Lapointe. “It’s not like the colour of a medal or just a medal. It’s the way I want to ski. For example, sometimes I’m setting for myself to ski the fastest for the day.
“This is how I figure it out. I focus on the right thing and then the medal appears.”
Breaking each competition down into smaller goals has worked well for her this season, with Dufour-Lapointe earning medals at her last three competitions. She won bronze in moguls at Calgary on Jan. 3, silver in the event at Deer Valley, Colo., on Jan. 9 and then gold in dual moguls on Jan. 10, again at Deer Valley.
On Sunday, Dufour-Lapointe’s objective was to adjust her style to the shorter run at Kreischberg, Austria.
“Because the course was smaller than usual my main focus was on being really clean and at the same time being really fast. It’s a balance. You need to be fast but also really compact and clean. That was my main goal and I think I did it well all day long.”
Added Dufour-Lapointe: “I think this is maybe why I won today.”
Dufour-Lapointe’s older sister Maxime finished 1.06 points short of the podium in fourth, while her other sister, Chloe, is the 2013 dual moguls world champion.
“I’m so happy for my sister Maxime. She skied so well. She’s improving every competition. She always surprises us, she’s amazing,” said Justine Dufour-Lapointe. “Of course Chloe didn’t make it today with us in the super final. It was really heartbreaking for me.
“It’s always fun to know that both of my sisters are there next to me. We’re like a little team together. I always feel stronger when they’re there.”
On the men’s side, Kingsbury lost to Anthony Benna by 0.35 points, as the Frenchman ended on 86.89 points. Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlyaev scored 85.68 for bronze, edging fourth-place and 2009 world champion Patrick Deneen of the United States by only 0.04.
Sunday’s silver ended a run of three-straight golds by Kingsbury. He took the top prize in moguls in Calgary, then won gold in moguls and dual moguls in Deer Valley the next week.
Like Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Kingsbury tries not to emphasize medals, but instead concentrates on his personal process on the slopes.
“I’m just focusing on myself right now. Focusing on skiing well and not trying to focus on the results,” said Kingsbury. “That’s helped me a lot. I’m just following my process and I know that if I ski well I put myself into a position to win every time.”
Kingsbury had been leading competition all day, but had a slight miscalculation on his first jump at the top of the hill in the super final.
Quebec City’s Philippe Marquis also competed in the men’s super final, but did not finish his run and officially finished sixth overall. Teammate Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh, also from Quebec City, ended the day in 17th place after stumbling in the final 1.
Benna hadn’t finished in the top 15 of a major championship before. Benna earned his most recent of four career World Cup podiums in Finland in December.
Still, Kingsbury thought Benna deserved the world championship.
“I’m not surprised because he’s a very good skier. He deserved the title today,” said Kingsbury. “I think if I hadn’t have made my mistake I think I would have had a very good chance of winning, but it’s great. He’s a great guy and I’m very happy for him.”
The next medal event of the freestyle skiing world championships is the dual moguls on Monday.
With files from The Associated Press