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Freestyle skiing: Kingsbury seals long-awaited moguls crown

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury demolished the field to win Olympic gold in the men’s moguls at Phoenix Snow Park on Monday four years after finishing as runner-up in Sochi.

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Kingsbury has dominated moguls skiing since the last Olympics and lived up to his billing with a flawless final run to score 86.63 points and earn Canada the men’s moguls title for the third Games in a row.

Matt Graham of Australia clinched the silver and Japan’s Daichi Hara took bronze.

Kingsbury, 25, is the all-time leader in moguls skiing victories and his streak of 13 consecutive World Cup wins is the longest ever, but the Olympic gold was the medal he has craved since losing out to compatriot Alex Bilodeau in 2014.

Ever since he was a child Kingsbury has thought about this title, pinning a picture of the Olympic rings above his bed as a youngster growing up in Quebec.

“I have dreamed about this day one million times,” Kingsbury told reporters.

“I dreamed about it again last night. It is unbelievable. I am the Olympic champion and I will be for the rest of my life.”

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Japan’s Ikuma Horishima, a double world champion, was the man who ended Kingsbury’s World Cup winning run but he fell during the second final.

Compatriot Sho Endo, fifth in the world cup rankings, set the highest score of 82.72 in a very high quality first final in which five athletes scored over 80 points.

South Korean hopes were dashed in the second final as Choi Jae Woo crashed out attempting a 1080 but there were no problems for Kingsbury, who scored 82.19.

Hara top-scored in round two with 82.30 but Kingsbury’s superiority showed in the final round and his flawless run earned him 86.63 points.

Graham was second on 82.57, a result that left the 23-year-old with the biggest smile in Pyeongchang.

“He is an amazing athlete,” Graham said of Kingsbury.

“With all that he has achieved, all the World Cup victories and world championship victories, a silver medal at the last game and now the cherry on the top with a gold medal, it has now solidified him as the greatest ever.”

Hara’s bronze medal was Japan’s first in moguls skiing and he sprinted round in circles to celebrate his surprise success.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant, editing by Ed Osmond