From FIS-Ski reports
DEER VALLEY, Utah — The first night of the final weekend of freestyle skiing competition at the Utah 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships went down in thrilling fashion at the famed Deer Valley Resort on Friday, where world championships moguls competition saw Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan claim a historic victory in the women’s competition, and Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury add another chapter to his incomparable career with a win in the men’s event.
Also, local favorite, Bradley Wilson, of Butte, Montana, wound up in 17th place, even with a fall on his run.
Galysheva came into competition at Utah 2019 with medals in both of the previous two world championships – a bronze in the dual moguls at Kreischberg 2015 and a silver from Sierra Nevada 2017, also in the duals. On Friday night in Deer Valley, at one of the most challenging and legendary venues in all of skiing, Galysheva completed her collection, putting down a superfinal score of 79.14 to win gold in a determined effort against the best women in moguls.
“I’m happy and I’m excited, but I’m looking forward to making this world championships even better tomorrow (in Saturday’s dual moguls competition)” Galysheva said through a translator, “I really like the night events and the crowd. It’s amazing to perform here in Deer Valley and I hope to try for the win again here tomorrow.”
Galysheva’s win was the first ever gold medal for a Kazakh athlete in Freestyle Skiing competition.
Second on the night and the silver medal went to Jakara Anthony of Australia, as the 20-year-old continued what has been an incredible 2018/19 season thus far. Having spent the past few years of World Cup competition in the shadow of her compatriot Britteny Cox, this season Anthony has emerged as a true, consistent threat at the upper echelon of moguls skiing, Coming off her first career victory at the last World Cup stop in Lake Placid, Anthony kept the momentum going on Friday night with a score of 78.99 for her first piece of world championships hardware.
Just back of Anthony in third place with a score of 78.70 was reigning Olympic gold medalist and Sierra Nevada 2017 dual moguls world champion Perrine Laffont, for her third career world championships medal.
In the men’s competition it was the man whose name has become synonymous with moguls skiing simply doing what he does like no one else in the world, as Kingsbury of Canada put on a clinic on Friday night. Skiing with nary a mistake to be seen from start to finish of the competition, Kingsbury qualified in first, won the first round of finals, and then capped the night off with one more stellar run to earn a score of 84.89 to claim the third world championships gold of his incredible career.
“I feel amazing,” an elated Kingsbury said after his winning run, “I won the moguls world champs back in 2013 when I was just 19 years old, and I’ve been trying to get it back ever since then. And to do it in Deer Valley at such a legendary course is just unreal. The guys were skiing so well, so I had to step it up in the superfinal with a double-full on the first jump. I’m going to enjoy this tonight and just have fun, but then once I go to bed I put today’s gold medal to the side and focus on coming back to win duals tomorrow.”
With the win, Kingsbury tied Edgar Gospiron for the most men’s freestyle victories of all time, while simultaneously tying Hannah Kearney of the United States for the most total freestyle world championships medals for either the men or women side in history.
Second place for the men went to Kingsbury’s good friend and longtime top competitor, Matt Graham of Australia, giving the Australians two podiums on the evening and giving Graham his first world championships podium in his seventh competition, earning a score of 81.94 for the silver medal.
Behind Graham in third place by the barest of margins was Daichi Hara Japan, as the Japanese team continued their impressive tradition of stepping up in the highest pressure situations to win podiums. Hara’s superfinal score of 81.66 was just .28 points behind Graham’s in the battle for silver, giving him a world championships bronze medal to match the Olympic bronze he earned in Korea last year.
Wilson crashed after landing his aerial from the bottom ramp on his run. He blamed the fall on over-exuberance.
“Insane night,” he said on social media. “I didn’t make it to the superfinals, but gave ‘er my all. My wall was just a little too much.”
Wilson, a two-time Olympian and 2011 Butte Central graduate, expressed excitement earlier in the day about competing on the Deer Valley course at night.
“Under the lights, baby,” he tweeted. “Can’t wait.”
The best moguls skiers in the world will be right back at it at one of the world’s best venues, as dual moguls is set to conclude freestyle competition at the Utah 2019 world championships on Saturday night, with qualifications beginning at 6:25, followed by finals once again going down under the Deer Valley lights at 9.
Compiled by Bruce Sayler for buttesports.com