Jaelin Kauf earned the first U.S. moguls medal at a world championships in eight years, a silver on Saturday to end the nation’s longest podium drought in the event.
The U.S. is the most successful nation in Olympic moguls with 12 medals, but had not earned a world championships medal since the last of Hannah Kearney‘s four medals in 2015 (a silver). From 2003 through 2015, the U.S. earned at least one moguls medal at seven consecutive world championships, then had none in 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Kauf followed her Olympic silver medal last year by finishing runner-up on Saturday to 2018 Olympic champion Perrine Laffont of France. Laffont tallied 87.40 points in her super final run to Kauf’s 83.56. Austrian Avital Carroll took bronze in Bakuriani, Georgia.
“Post-Christmas and the second half of the [season], really focused on my strengths,” said Kauf, who had the best time in the super final contrasted to Laffont’s air superiority. “That’s skiing with speed and executing the jumps that I have to a really high level. I feel like I’m really pushing the sport.”
Kauf added another silver behind Laffont in Sunday’s dual moguls, the head-to-head discipline that makes its Olympic debut in 2026.
“Definitely going for the gold both days, but I’ll settle for second,” Kauf said with a laugh. “That last run, in the gate, I was telling myself, ‘You’re skiing to win. Leave it all out there last run,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”
In 2018, Kauf entered the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the World Cup standings and finished seventh. In 2022, Kauf entered the Olympics ranked 19th in the World Cup and finished second. This year, Kauf entered worlds ranked fourth in the World Cup.
The 26-year-old Kauf’s parents were both pro tour moguls champions. They never competed in the Olympics, but both later took up ski cross. Her mom made X Games podiums in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Laffont broke the female record with her fifth total moguls and dual moguls world title, surpassing Traa and Canadian Jenn Heil.
At last year’s Olympics, Laffont shockingly finished fourth after missing just two World Cup podiums in the four-year Olympic cycle.
Australian Jakara Anthony, who won the Olympics last year, placed 17th on Saturday, her worst finish in a top-level moguls or dual moguls event since January 2018.
In Saturday’s men’s moguls, Canadian Mikaël Kingsbury became the first man or woman to win four world titles in the event, breaking his tie for the record with Frenchman Edgar Grospiron, who won gold in Olympic moguls’ debut in 1992.
“I came here with no pressure because I told myself, you know, I’ve won six times at world championships [between moguls and dual moguls], so why put pressure again?” Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury scored 89.82 points, relegating Australian Matt Graham to silver (88.90) and Sweden’s Walter Wallberg to bronze (88.52). Wallberg upset Kingsbury at last year’s Olympics.
Then on Sunday, Kingsbury won his fourth world title in dual moguls, breaking this tie with fellow Canadians Heil and Alexandre Bilodeau for the most in that event.
Peacock airs live coverage of the world freestyle skiing and snowboarding championships. The next finals are in snowboard slopestyle on Monday.
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