Hannah Kearney, Alexandre Bilodeau take Deer Valley moguls

Hannah Kearney
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Hannah Kearney won her sixth straight moguls gold at Deer Valley. That was expected.

But the men’s World Cup event provided more intrigue Saturday. Canadian Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau overtook countryman world champion Mikael Kingsbury after finishing second to Kingsbury in the previous three World Cups this season.

NBC will air coverage of the Park City, Utah, event Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Kearney, 27, has won three of four World Cups this season and is favored to successfully defend her Olympic title in February. She scored 25.21 points Saturday after winning with 24.83 on Friday.

“At practice I thought there’s a chance this is a larger crowd than we’ll have at the Olympics, and there’s certainly more people cheering for me than there are going to be at the Olympics,” Kearney said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “So I used it and tried to put on a show.”

Bilodeau, 26, bounced back to win by a slim .07 over Kingsbury after being upset with judging last week, according to the Calgary Herald. He didn’t talk to media last week, but his coach did.

“He felt that when he skis right now, even if he does his best, he feels that he skis with a rock in his pocket,” Michel Hamelin said on a call with reporters.

The final moguls World Cup before the Olympics is this week in Canada. Kearney is the lone U.S. moguls skier to meet Olympic selection criteria so far (two top-three results), but as many as seven more could be named to the U.S. Olympic Team next week.

Kearney and Bilodeau have said Sochi will be their final Olympics. They’re both trying to become the first freestyle skier to win multiple Olympic titles.

“I’ve done everything in my power to be ready for the Olympics,” Bilodeau said, according to The Associated Press. “After that, I’ll have other goals in life and I’ll move on. But it’s been an amazing journey.”

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”