Another U.S. win in moguls, plus another Olympic qualifier

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American Jaelin Kauf is the world’s best moguls skier this season. Countrywoman Morgan Schild is not far behind.

Kauf won for the second time in six World Cup events this season on Thursday night, notching her fourth finish in the top two in the last five events. She leads the World Cup standings.

Schild joined her on the podium for a second straight night in Park City, Utah, in third place.

Schild clinched an Olympic spot, joining Kauf as first two moguls skiers to qualify for Team USA.

Kauf, the daughter of two moguls skiers, made her first Olympics with her win Wednesday night.

Schild, a 20-year-old also going to her first Olympics, went 22 months between competitions due to a left ACL tear and two surgeries.

She returned last January and made the podium in her first World Cup back. Then she notched her first World Cup moguls win a month later.

They’re succeeding the retired Hannah Kearney — 2010 Olympic champion and 2014 bronze medalist — in carrying the Olympic podium hopes for the U.S.

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MORE: Canadian breaks World Cup moguls win record

Mikael Kingsbury breaks wins record; U.S. mogulist qualifies for Olympics

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Canadian moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury won his record-breaking 47th World Cup event, while Jaelin Kauf became the first U.S. mogulist to qualify for PyeongChang in Park City, Utah, on Wednesday night.

Kingsbury, the Sochi silver medalist, won for the 12th straight time on the World Cup, extending an unbeaten run since last January.

Arguably the most dominant athlete in winter sports today also passed U.S. Olympic champions Donna Weinbrecht and Hannah Kearney for the most career World Cup wins in moguls and dual moguls combined.

It took Weinbrecht 112 starts to reach 46 wins. It took Kearney 117 starts.

Kingsbury, 25, surpassed them in his 85th start, winning 55 percent of his career races and making the podium 80 percent of the time.

“They’re big legends, and to pass them is a big honor,” he said after Wednesday’s victory.

American Bradley Wilson took third in the men’s event and looks likely to make his second Olympics after finishing 20th in Sochi.

In the women’s event, Americans Kauf and Morgan Schild took second and third behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Kauf, the 21-year-old daughter of two moguls skiers, clinched the first U.S. Olympic moguls berth. She has a win and two runners-up in five races this season and leads the World Cup standings.

Schild will clinch an Olympic spot with a podium in Thursday’s moguls event in Park City or next week in Canada. Even without a podium, she will still likely be named to her first Olympic team by a selection committee.

Wednesday also marked the first World Cup that none of the three Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters finished in the top eight in nearly seven years.

The top sister was Chloe in 20th place. Justine and Chloe went one-two in Sochi.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for PyeongChang Olympics

Most dominant winter athlete? Mikael Kingsbury wins 10th straight

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Canadian moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury is on one of the hottest streaks in all winter sports heading into the PyeongChang Winter Games.

The Sochi silver medalist has won 10 straight World Cup events, capped with back-to-back victories in China on Thursday and Friday.

The streak includes seven moguls wins and three in dual moguls, which is not an Olympic event.

Kingsbury goes into the new year riding an 11-month streak on the World Cup, a run rivaled by few athletes (but most notably Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva, who hasn’t lost in two years but is out with a broken foot).

“Honestly I don’t even think about it,” Kingsbury, 25, said Friday, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS). “I just don’t want the people to wake me up from this dream.”

Kingsbury is now up to 45 career World Cup victories, one shy of the men’s or women’s record for moguls skiers shared by retired U.S. Olympic champions Donna Weinbrecht and Hannah Kearney. He should break it in January.

When he was 9, Kingsbury printed the Olympic symbol, wrote next to it that he would win a gold medal and taped it to his ceiling to see it before he went to bed every night.

His time is now.

Countryman Alexandre Bilodeau retired after becoming the first freestyle skier to win multiple Olympic gold medals in Sochi, relegating Kingsbury to silver.

Kingsbury was a forerunner at Vancouver 2010, where Bilodeau memorably won Canada’s first home gold at a Summer or Winter Games.

“That guy that finished second,” Bilodeau said in Sochi, “he is going to win everything after I’m gone.”

Kingsbury has won the last six World Cup moguls season titles but was shockingly third at last season’s world championships.

It marked just the second time Kingsbury finished outside the top two in a moguls competition (excluding dual moguls) since March 2014. That span includes 30 competitions.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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