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Death. Taxes. And Mikael Kingsbury.
The most inevitable force in winter Olympic sports struck again. A day after winning the third moguls world title of his incomparable career, Canadian freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury completed the double today, capturing his third world title in dual moguls — a head-to-head version of the sport that is not in the Olympics.
Kingsbury’s latest victories, at the freestyle skiing world championships in Kazakhstan, burnish his status as one of the most dominant individual-sport athletes of all time. In addition to his six world titles, the 28-year-old from Deux-Montagnes, Que., owns an Olympic gold medal and a Lou Marsh Award (both from 2018). He has a record 65 World Cup wins (45 in moguls, 20 in dual moguls) and has captured nine consecutive World Cup moguls season titles.
That streak is about to end, but only because of two freak occurrences — a serious injury and a global pandemic. The latter caused a shortened World Cup season with only three moguls competitions (usually there are seven or eight) and Kingsbury missed the first two after fracturing his spine while practising for the opener in December. He made it back for the final stop two months later and won both the moguls and dual moguls event in Utah. After his two wins at the world championships, he can make it a 5-for-5 season if he competes in Sunday’s dual moguls event in Kazakhstan. At this point, victory is so commonplace for Kingsbury that it’s more newsworthy when he doesn’t win. He has essentially solved his sport.
Kingsbury is also using his voice. Last week, he sent an open letter to Quebec Premier François Legault calling for the provincial government to allow sports to return to schools as the pandemic shows signs of weakening. “I am worried that young people are lost,” Kingsbury wrote. “That they are abandoning sport in favour of screens.” He added in an interview with CBC Sports: “Having grown up skiing and playing baseball with my friends, sport is a motivator. A source of meaning.” Read more from the letter and the interview here.
The freestyle ski world championships continue Wednesday with the men’s and women’s aerials events. Watch them live from 4-5:30 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.
WATCH | Kingsbury soars to dual moguls title:
Rhéal Cormier had one of the best seasons ever by a Canadian pitcher. Cormier, who died yesterday of cancer at the age of 53, had a very nice career as a reliever. He played 16 big-league seasons, including two for the Montreal Expos, and appeared in more games than any Canadian pitcher but Paul Quantrill. Cormier never made it to a World Series, but he pitched in the 1999 American League Championship Series for Boston. He also represented Canada in two Olympics, a Pan Am Games and a World Baseball Classic. He made an estimated $ 24 million US in salary and finished with a career ERA+ of 105, indicating he was about five per cent better than his average contemporary. But in 2003, Cormier was magical. In 65 appearances that year for Philadelphia, he posted a 1.70 ERA and allowed only 54 hits in 84 innings. His ERA+ was 235. Read more about Cormier’s life and career here.
Two teams are still undefeated at the Brier. Jason Gunnlaugson’s Manitoba rink improved to 4-0 and sits alone atop Pool A after beating the Northwest Territories today. Four-time champion Kevin Koe’s wild-card team tops Pool B at 5-0 and has the day off. Read more about today’s results here and watch That Curling Show with Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones live at 7:30 p.m. ET on YouTube or the CBC Olympics Twitter and Facebook pages.
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held without foreign fans, a Japanese news agency reported. Not a huge surprise considering the pandemic is still going on and Japan only started vaccinating people three weeks ago. Also, a recent survey in the country found three quarters of respondents did not want international visitors to attend the Games. An official announcement could come as soon as next week, according to the Kyodo news agency, and a decision on how many domestic spectators to allow into venues is expected in April. Read more here.
The Canadian Open golf tournament was cancelled for the second straight year. The PGA Tour is mostly back to normal now, but cross-border travel is not. That’s the main reason why organizers called off the June 9-13 tournament at St. George’s in Toronto. They said they’re working toward getting the Canadian Open back on the tour schedule next year, but no date or location was announced. Read more about the cancellation here.
Dak Prescott finally got his money. When it’s time for a new contract, any decent NFL starting quarterback can get his team to pony up pretty much whatever he wants, within reason. So it was strange that Prescott, who’s one of the better QBs in the league, had to haggle with Dallas owner Jerry Jones for two years to get the long-term deal he deserves (though the gruesome, season-ending leg injury Prescott suffered in October probably complicated things). But Jones finally caved yesterday, giving Prescott a four-year contract that includes $ 126 million US guaranteed and an NFL-record $ 66 million signing bonus. At $ 40 million per season, Dak’s deal pays him the second-highest average salary in the league, behind Patrick Mahomes ($ 45M) and just ahead of Houston’s (for now) Deshaun Watson ($ 39M). Read more about it here.
The world’s oldest person is preparing to take part in the Tokyo Olympic torch relay. 118(!)-year-old Kane Tanaka, who’s currently living through her second global pandemic, would be the oldest Olympic torchbearer by a dozen years. She plans to cover most of her 100-metre leg in a wheelchair pushed by members of her family, but she wants to walk the final few steps and pass the torch to the next person. Tanaka has been alive for 49 of the 51 Olympics (Summer and Winter) held since the modern Games began in 1896. When Japan last hosted a Summer Olympics, in 1964, she was 61. Read more neat facts about Tanaka (she worked until she was 103!) in this CNN story.
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