Canada's Bilodeau first to win two golds

Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:47pm EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Canada's Alex Bilodeau left his best until his very last to retain the men's moguls title at the Sochi Winter Games on Monday and become the first freestyle skier to win two Olympic gold medals.

The 26-year-old, who had already announced that this season would be his last, nailed his final jump brilliantly to lead another Canadian moguls one-two under the lights at the Extreme Park with Mikael Kingsbury claiming silver.

"It's a great feeling but ... there were two other Canadians after me, every day they push me in training and that's why I got my best skiing tonight," said Bilodeau.

"That's why I'm the best skier I have ever been right now and the guy that finished second, he is going to win everything after I have gone.

"I'm glad to finish my last Olympics like this. It's going to be a great retirement."

Trailing his rivals after errors downgraded his scores in the first two rounds of the final, Bilodeau finally got his rhythm just right for a clean third run, which he capped with a whirl of rotations to score an imposing 26.31.

His 21-year-old compatriot Kingsbury went last in the final but could only score 24.71, which nevertheless gave Canada four of the six moguls medals after Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe's gold and silver in the women's event.

Russia's Alexandr Smyshlyaev had a superb night, scything his way through the soft snow like a dervish and leading after the opening round of the final, lifting the crowd with a surprise bronze in 24.34.   Continued...

Canada's Alex Bilodeau performs a jump during the men's freestyle skiing moguls finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake