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Freestylers clean up in Norway

Marielle Thompson back on podium; team rakes in 10 medals at world championship



The 2013 FIS World Championships for every sport are a big deal, providing athletes a chance to qualify early for the 2014 Olympics. For Canadian athletes and national sports organizations, the championships are also crucial when it comes to applying for funding through the national Athlete Assistance Program.

In that scope, things really couldn't have gone any better for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team in Norway last week. While the halfpipe team was kept off the podium, Canadian athletes won medals in every discipline — three medals in moguls, three medals in dual moguls, one medal in aerials, two medals in slopestyle and one medal in ski cross — for a total of 10 medals.

Mogul skiers win six medals

Canada captured three out of four world championship titles with Mikael Kingsbury winning the gold medal in single moguls, Alex Bilodeau the men's gold in dual moguls and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe the women's gold in dual moguls. Kingsbury was second in dual moguls, Bilodeau second in single moguls and Justine Dufour-Lapointe was third in individual moguls. That's six out of a possible 12 medals for the team.

In the opening single moguls competition, Kingsbury finished with a score of 27.59, while Bilodeau was close behind with a 26.95. Patrick Deneen of the U.S. was almost a full point back to win the bronze.

The other Canadians struggled with Philippe Marquis in 15th and Marc-Antoine Gagnon 17th.

"I have been waiting a while for this and dreaming about the day that I would earn the World Championship title," said Kingsbury, the overall World Cup leader from last season. "I worked hard all summer to get to this day and I'm very happy."

Kingsbury joined the World Cup team in the 2011 season, and in his first three seasons he already has 28 podiums. His third season isn't over yet, but he's already secured himself a spot in the 2014 Games.

As for Justine Dufour-Lapoint, a third-place result was as good as gold after falling in the first round of eliminations and squeaking her way into the finals.

Hannah Kearney of the U.S. took the gold medal while Japan's Miki Ito — a rising star on a rising team this season — picked up the silver. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was eighth for Canada, while Audrey Robichaud was 11th and Andi Naude 12th.

In the dual moguls, the final dual between Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau was as close as they come with the judges giving the edge to Bilodeau.

"Honestly, it could have gone either way," said Bilodeau. "I can't wait to see the video, I'm sure it was super tight."

Patrick Deneen picked up the bronze medal once again, edging out Per Spett of Sweden in the small final competition. Other Canadians in the running include Philippe Marquis in seventh and Marc-Antoine Gagnon in 15th.