Mikael Kingsbury, one of the world’s dominant athletes, hits bump in moguls career

Mikael Kingsbury
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For a span of 10 years, Canadian moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury did not miss a World Cup event.

In that time, he became one of the most dominant athletes in any sport.

He won 63 times in 109 World Cup starts and finished on the podium 91 times. He’s tallied more World Cup wins than any other moguls skier (U.S. Olympic gold medalists Hannah Kearney and Donna Weinbrecht are next on the list with 46 each).

A four-time world champion (two each in moguls and dual moguls) and reigning Olympic champion, Kingsbury was ready to chase a 10th straight Crystal Globe this fall and winter. The award is given at season’s end to the top athlete on the World Cup tour, one for moguls and one combining all freestyle skiing disciplines.

But in early December, while the world’s best moguls skiers competed under the lights in Ruka, Finland at the first World Cup event, Kingsbury sat in an unfamiliar place: on the couch at his cabin in Quebec.

He had fractured the T4 and T5 vertebrae in his back while landing a jump in training in Finland. The injury is expected to require about six weeks of recovery. So, for the first time since 2010, Kingsbury was absent.

He was upbeat in an interview from home, though he admitted missing an event at his favorite course in Ruka – where he’s won eight times in 10 World Cup starts – was not ideal.

“It wasn’t fun to be sitting on my couch and looking at the guys ski,” he said.

Injuries are common in moguls, a punishing event involving sharp turns, aerial tricks and high speeds. Kingsbury was spared up to age 28, never missing a start due to injury. He once almost missed a World Cup event because he was sick.

“But I ended up winning,” he said with a smile.

Earlier this year, with training and travel limitations in place, Kingsbury purchased home gym equipment. A vigorous workout routine put him in the best shape of his life going into the season.

“I’m glad I did train a lot this summer because [the injury] could have been way worse if I didn’t put that much muscle [on] my body,” he said.

Kingsbury’s statistics are mind bending. Thanks to his 91 top-three finishes, he has an eye-popping 83% podium rate on the World Cup circuit (Mikaela Shiffrin makes the World Cup podium 72% of the time in her best discipline of slalom).

He didn’t finish worse than second in 10 World Cup starts last season. One season earlier, he missed the podium only once. Kingsbury admitted the numbers are intriguing, even if they aren’t top-of-mind.

“I love statistic[s], I love looking at what the others have done in the past and what I’m doing,” he said. “But when I ski, I don’t ski for the stats, and I don’t ski thinking about numbers. … If I focus on the right thing, then every time I step into the start gate, I know I can win.”

When Kingsbury was 9, he printed the Olympic rings on a piece of paper. Below it, he wrote, “Je vais gagné” (I will win) and taped it to the ceiling above his bed to look at each night before he went to sleep. After Kingsbury won gold in PyeongChang, his brother amended the sign to read, “Tu as gagné” (you won).

The joy of moguls hasn’t faded.

“What I love about this sport is still the same as when I was 10 years old,” he said. “There’s no perfection, so you can always improve. … Every day you wake up, and you can have a new goal, a new challenge.

“A lot of people are asking me, you must be bored of winning or being on the podium, but not really. Because the story and the strategy behind every win is so different than the week before.”

Kingsbury checked all of the items off his career bucket list. But he would still like to match countryman Alexandre Bilodeau‘s feat of winning two Olympic moguls titles.

“I want to check them all again, if I can,” he said. “It’s just that the feeling of winning a Crystal Globe or a world championship or, at the peak, the Olympic Games … I love that feeling.”

Kingsbury also wants to keep honing his craft, fine-tuning the technical skills to hit a so-far unreached potential and push the sport to another level.

While he’s off the snow for a few weeks, he started riding a stationary bike at home, adjusting the handlebars to keep his back as straight as possible. He finished a 1,000-piece puzzle in two or three days. Next up: 1,500 pieces.

The injury puts him in an unfamiliar place: behind his competitors in points when he returns to the start gate after so many years of being chased.

“I don’t want to say [I’ll be] playing catch up, but yeah, it’s a different position for me right now,” he said. “So I’m going to try and learn from that experience. And I’ll be super motivated to heal and to do the right thing to be back.”

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed over the second half, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48.

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago. The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, doing so in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

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2022 Berlin Marathon Results

2022 Berlin Marathon

2022 Berlin Marathon top-10 results and notable finishers from men’s and women’s elite and wheelchair races. Full searchable results are here. ..

1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) — 2:01:09 WORLD RECORD
2. Mark Korir (KEN) — 2:05:58
3. Tadu Abate (ETH) — 2:06:28
4. Andamiak Belihu (ETH) — 2:06:40
5. Abel Kipchumba (ETH) — 2:06:40
6. Limenih Getachew (ETH) — 2:07:07
7. Kenya Sonota (JPN) — 2:07:14
8. Tatsuya Maruyama (JPN) — 2:07:50
9. Kento Kikutani (JPN) — 2:07:56
10. Zablon Chumba (KEN) — 2:08:01
DNF. Guye Adola (ETH)

1. Tigist Assefa (ETH) — 2:15:37
2. Rosemary Wanjiru (KEN) — 2:18:00
3. Tigist Abayechew (ETH) — 2:18:03
4. Workenesh Edesa (ETH) — 2:18:51
5. Meseret Sisay Gola (ETH) — 2:20:58
6. Keira D’Amato (USA) — 2:21:48
7. Rika Kaseda (JPN) — 2:21:55
8. Ayuko Suzuki (JPN) — 2:22:02
9. Sayaka Sato (JPN) — 2:22:13
10. Vibian Chepkirui (KEN) — 2:22:21

Wheelchair Men
1. Marcel Hug (SUI) — 1:24:56
2. Daniel Romanchuk (USA) — 1:28:54
3. David Weir (GBR) — 1:29:02
4. Jetze Plat (NED) — 1:29:06
5. Sho Watanabe (JPN) — 1:32:44
6. Patrick Monahan (IRL) — 1:32:46
7. Jake Lappin (AUS) — 1:32:50
8. Kota Hokinoue (JPN) — 1:33:45
9. Rafael Botello Jimenez (ESP) — 1:36:49
10. Jordie Madera Jimenez (ESP) — 1:36:50

Wheelchair Women
1. Catherine Debrunner (SUI) — 1:36:47
2. Manuela Schar (SUI) — 1:36:50
3. Susannah Scaroni (USA) — 1:36:51
4. Merle Menje (GER) — 1:43:34
5. Aline dos Santos Rocha (BRA) — 1:43:35
6. Madison de Rozario (BRA) — 1:43:35
7. Patricia Eachus (SUI) — 1:44:15
8. Vanessa De Souza (BRA) — 1:48:37
9. Alexandra Helbling (SUI) — 1:51:47
10. Natalie Simanowski (GER) — 2:05:09

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