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2014 Olympic profile: Mikael Kingsbury

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According to the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association website on Monday, Mikael Kingsbury of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec was named to the Canadian Olympic freestyle ski team and will compete in men's moguls.

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will be the first Olympic Winter Games in Kingsbury's career, and there will be high expectations.

Kingsbury is the reigning World Champion, World Cup champion, and won the World Cup event in Sochi on February 15, 2013.

Even though Kingsbury has an impressive resume, he has faced some adversity within the last month. In his last three competitions, Kingsbury has placed second twice and in sixth place once, as he has seen his Canadian teammate and reigning Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau of Montreal place on top of the podium three straight times.

It will be interesting to see what Kingsbury will have in store for Sochi and if he and Bilodeau can capture two of the three Olympic podium spots that are available.

Here is my interview with Kingsbury after his World Cup victory in Calgary earlier this month.

What is it like to go into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games as a medal favourite?

"It feels very good. I've been skiing very well. The last couple of years, right now I feel so much confidence when I ski."

Generally, the most high profile Canadian athletes are in hockey, curling and figure skating. Do you think with your international success, that you should deserve a little bit more media attention?

"Yeah, I think the Canadians are very strong in our sport. On the men's side, we've been the strongest country in the world for the past six years."

Canada has had great success in freestyle skiing in past Olympics. How challenging is it for you to continue that tradition?

"In Canada we have a tradition for freestyle skiing. I'm going to train hard, focus and do my best run in my life at the Olympics, and hopefully I will have a chance to win a gold medal. It would be nice if I can be like Jean-Luc Brassard at Lillehammer and Alexandre Bilodeau at the last Olympics."

How meaningful is it for you that Brassard will be Canada's assistant chef de mission in Sochi?

"We all know him very well. He has been through a lot of stuff at the Olympics and he's the best guy for us to have. We're very lucky to have him."

You have company in Canada because Alexandre Bilodeau is also skiing at a very high level. What is your opinion of Bilodeau?

"He is a great skier. He makes me push everyday. In competition, he is a hard guy to beat. I'll train and I'll continue to be consistent to try to beat him there (at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi). But he's been great to me and has helped me a lot."

Do you and Alex train together regularly?

"We have the same trainer back in Montreal, but we have a different coach."

Who do you think will be your major competitors at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?

"Every Canadian (Alexandre Bilodeau and Marc-Antoine Gagnon) and American Patrick Deneen, who finished third (in Calgary). The American skiers are pretty much really good. There are also a couple of strong Russians (led by Alexander Smyshlyaev). The field is very strong and there is no place for a mistake. It could be anybody who has a really good round that wins."

If there is one particular technique you would like to perfect in Sochi, what is it?

"I plan to do the same jump (as I did in Calgary). It's the double flip. I just want to do it perfect."

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