Weekend Roundup: Leman retires as a winner, Kingsbury completes Crystal Globe hat trick
On the last official weekend of winter, many Team Canada athletes starred on the snow.
Olympic champion Brady Leman ended his ski cross career on the highest of notes, Mikaël Kingsbury wrapped up another record-setting moguls season, and Alexandria Loutitt flew further than any Canadian ski jumper in history.
Check out what you may have missed:
Ski Cross: A golden goodbye for Brady Leman
It was a most fitting way for 2018 Olympic champion Brady Leman to finish off his illustrious career: with a win on home snow. At the FIS Ski Cross World Cup Finals hosted by the Craigleith Ski Club in Collingwood, Ontario, Leman captured gold on Saturday in his final race ever. He heads into retirement with six career World Cup wins, four of which have come in Collingwood.
Reece Howden locked up the Crystal Globe for men’s ski cross when he won the first race of the weekend on Friday. That ensured he would finish atop the World Cup standings this season thanks to seven podium finishes, including three victories.
Courtney Hoffos and Marielle Thompson shared the women’s podium on Friday after finishing second and third, respectively. Thompson returned to the podium on Saturday, upgrading her result to silver. This time she shared the podium with Brittany Phelan, who finished third. The weekend marked Phelan’s return to competition after a year recovering from injury. Thompson finished third in the overall World Cup standings for the fifth straight season.
Ski Jumping: Louttit captures silver, then sets all-time Canadian record
Alexandria Loutitt won silver in the large hill at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway on Wednesday. The day before she set a Canadian record by jumping 138.5 metres to finish first in qualification. But that wasn’t the last record she would break before the weekend was done.
On Sunday, Louttit and fellow Canadian Abigail Strate were among the 15 athletes who contested the first ever women’s ski flying event in Vikersund, Norway.
During training on Saturday, Loutitt set a women’s world record with her jump of 222 metres. That mark was broken in Sunday’s competition by Slovenia’s Ema Klinec, who flew 226 metres. Meanwhile, Loutitt jumped 225 metres, which surpassed the all-time Canadian record distance previously held by Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes. Loutitt placed fifth while Strate finished eighth in this historic competition.
Moguls: Kingsbury claims all three moguls Crystal Globes
Mikaël Kingsbury won the last FIS World Cup moguls and dual moguls events of the season in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which officially secured him the Crystal Globe in each discipline, as well as the overall title.
On Friday, he earned his fourth moguls gold of the World Cup season by almost seven points. He was so consistent he didn’t miss a single moguls podium all season. The dual moguls victory on Saturday was his 80th win in 135 career World Cup starts. His 24 career Crystal Globes are an all-time record in freestyle skiing.
Aerials: Nadeau and Thénault both earn bronze to close season
Émile Nadeau finished the season strong by capturing his first career FIS World Cup medal on Sunday. The 19-year-old earned bronze in the men’s aerials in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was his first time advancing to a six-man super final since January 2022.
In the women’s event, Marion Thénault earned her own bronze medal to land on her fourth World Cup podium of the season. That ranks her third in the overall World Cup standings. She snuck into the six-woman super final as the final qualifier but bounced back with a great jump to grab the bronze.
Alpine Skiing: Grenier grabs bronze at World Cup Finals
Valérie Grenier finished third in the women’s giant slalom at the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals on Sunday in Soldeu, Andorra. That is the second podium finish of the season for the 26-year-old. In early January, she became the first Canadian woman in almost five decades to win a World Cup giant slalom race.
Grenier had been in second place after the first run, setting her up well for the second run. She ended up just two-tenths of a second behind the winner, American Mikaela Shiffrin, in the final results.
Another notable moment happened this weekend when Marie-Michèle Gagnon bid adieu to competition as she skied off into retirement alongside her fiancé, American Travis Ganong. Gagnon had made 272 World Cup starts in her career, more than any other Canadian skier. She earned five World Cup podiums in that time.
On the men’s side of things, Jeffrey Read finished fifth in the super-G for his career-best World Cup result. He was just 0.01 behind fourth place and only 0.16 away from the podium. The 25-year-old had previously placed no higher than seventh in any alpine discipline.
Ski Slopestyle: Oldham returns to World Cup podium
Megan Oldham won her second FIS World Cup medal of the season, capturing bronze in ski slopestyle in Tignes, France, on Saturday. Her score of 90.00 had her in second place after the first run. She was pushed down a spot after Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland earned 96.25 in her second run to take the gold. Norway’s Johanne Killi slotted in for the silver with 95.25 points.
Snowboard Cross: Close call for Grondin
Eliot Grondin finished just shy of the podium at the FIS World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. He was fourth in the men’s snowboard cross Big Final at the second last stop of the season. Audrey McManiman advanced to the women’s Small Final, finishing fourth for eighth place overall. The Canadian snowboard cross team will get to finish off the season at home as the FIS World Cup Finals will take place in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec March 24-26.
Artistic Swimming: Canadians enjoy strong start to season in home waters
The first World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup of the year took place in Markham, Ontario. A brand new scoring system was used for the first time. Audrey Lamothe won bronze in the women’s solo technical and in the women’s solo free. Isabelle Blanchet-Rampling and Rene Robert Prevost swam to silver on Saturday in the mixed duet free.
Canada finished fourth in the mixed team technical. Jonnie Newman and Kenzie Priddell placed fourth in the women’s duet technical. Canada also finished fourth in the acrobatic routine.
Swimming: Mac Neil makes history
Maggie Mac Neil swam the fastest women’s 50-yard freestyle in NCAA history to win the event at the NCAA Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mac Neil finished her collegiate career by also winning silver in the 100-yard butterfly and bronze in the 100-yard freestyle.
Tennis: Auger-Aliassime rises up world rankings
Félix Auger-Aliassime has risen to number six in the ATP singles rankings, matching his career high. He bumped up four spots following his quarterfinals appearance at Indian Wells. He was eliminated from the Masters 1000 tournament by 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcarez, who took over as world number one with his tournament victory.