Mikael Kingsbury: Top five things to know about freestyle skiing Olympic champion

The Canadian has won every medal moguls skiing has to offer, but retaining his Winter Olympics title after breaking his back in 2020 would arguably be his greatest achievement yet.

By Andrew Binner
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

There are barely any weaknesses in Mikael Kingsbury's game.

A few stand out entries on the Canadian freestyle skier's astonishing resume include: nine overall World Cup titles, the record for most World Cup moguls victories and freestyle skiing World Cup event wins, and the first man to have won both the moguls and dual moguls World Championship events.

Then there is the small matter of his Olympic silver medal at Sochi 2014 and Olympic gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Games. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the greatest moguls skier of all time.

But Kingsbury’s world was rocked in December 2020, when he fractured two vertebrae in a training accident in Finland.

Showing his champion spirit, the Quebec-born athlete was back on the slopes just months later, and confirmed that he was back to his best with two world titles at the 2021 World Championships.

But how well do you know the 29-year-old, who is one of his nation’s top medal hopes for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics?

Mikael Kingsbury is back to his best after injury, having won two world titles in 2021.
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

1 - Mikael Kingsbury’s manifestation

After watching the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, a nine-year-old Kingsbury pinned a picture of the five rings on his bedroom wall and wrote underneath ‘I will win the Olympics’.

He would look at it every night as he went to bed, and never deviated from his goal.

Sixteen years later, at PyeongChang 2018, Kingsbury stood proudly on top of the podium with his gold medal.

To celebrate that moment, his brother Maxime scribbled across the sign so it read, ‘You did win.’

The Kingsbury's mother tweeted the evidence below!

In addition to manifestation, he is Kinsbury a superstitious skier that wears the same shirt and underwear during every competition.

2 - An Olympic gold medallist’s tips for overcoming anxiety

Life as a professional athlete can be stressful, particularly when you are expected to win every time you compete.

There is also the constant travel, changing time zones, drops in form, and absence from friends and family to contend with.

Kingsbury might look like the most relaxed person on the hill when he competes, but he feels pre-event nerves just like anyone else. To make sure they don’t affect his performance, he has a few useful tricks up his sleeve.

“I have a very good routine which I try to follow, like listening to music. I do the stuff that puts me in a good mood,” he told Olympics.com.

“If I feel that I have a bit too much stress, I try to kind of lie to my body, smile, and a good trick is to open your chest, which makes you feel like you're in control of what you're doing. You see a lot of people when they're stressed that their chest is a bit more round and down.”

3 - Surprising area of pain

The propensity for injury in moguls skiing seems endless.

To the average viewer, it looks like the knees might be the part of the athlete’s body that are most in danger, due to the constant jolting, twisting and turning.

For Kingsbury, however, the most common pain lies much further below.

“It's not actually as hard on the knees as it looks,” he continued to Olympics.com.

“I think the back gets most of the impact, especially on the bumps and landing, even when you don't crash. The other one is my toes. My boots are very tight and when I land jumps, my toes keep stubbing the end of my boot, leaving me with nice bleeding at the end of a run. I think that's the most painful thing.

"It can get pretty nasty, usually after the run I relieve the pressure by bursting the blisters that appear with a needle and letting the blood pump out. That’s not fun!”

4 - Watch out for Kingsbury’s new tricks

Perhaps the secret to Kingsbury’s success is his ability to continually evolve.

Some call it a growth mindset, others call it pushing the sport’s boundaries. Either way, the Canadian freestyle skiing king doesn’t just want to win, he wants to do it in a way no one has ever done before.

“There is a cork 1080 with a truck driver mute that I’ve been working on,” he continued. “Not many people have done that trick on a mogul course, so this one would be fun to do.

“I've practised doing it a lot this summer on the water ramp, and in Switzerland I've done it on snow.

“There's also the double that I can do, but the FIS doesn’t allow that yet. But I've been working on a double cork ten. The way that Johnny Moseley brought the Cork 720, I think there is a way for me to bring that trick.”

Imagine winning the Beijing 2022 Olympic final with one of those….

5 - Away from the snow

Some athletes are so single-focussed that they spend every waking second perfecting their art.

While hard work and dedication are undoubtedly the bedrock of Kingsbury’s success, he cuts a decidedly more laid back figure, and has plenty of other interests outside of his sport.

In true Canadian style, he spends his downtime playing ice hockey, and in the summer, skateboarding.

But this athlete is both brains and brawn, and pursued his studies in human science through distance learning.

READ: Exclusive! Mogul king Mikael Kingsbury excited to 'be the hunter' after quick recovery


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