Olympic Freestyle Skiing 2014: Biggest Stars to Watch in Men's Moguls

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Olympic Freestyle Skiing 2014: Biggest Stars to Watch in Men's Moguls
Andy Wong/Associated Press

There are few events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi that bring the overall excitement factor that the moguls competitions do.

The men’s moguls will be headlined by a showdown between the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked moguls skiers in the world in the World Cup standings. Jason Stahl of NBCOlympics.com sets the stage perfectly:

The moguls course is designed for skiers to go straight down, however if you take a look at the results from men's moguls from this past World Cup season, you'd think you were watching a tennis match. The skier at top of the podium went back-and-forth between two Canadians. Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury were staples on the podium leading up to the Olympics. They flip-flopped at all six World Cup events, with each winning three competitions.

Clearly, the fact that there will be a battle between the top two ranked mogul skiers in the world is the main storyline. 

Here is the schedule and broadcast information for the event’s finals:

 

Men’s Moguls Final

Date: Monday, Feb. 10

Time: 1 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. Sochi time and 6 p.m. GMT 

TV Broadcast: NBC at 3 p.m. ET and BBC at 6 p.m. GMT

 

Let’s dig into a discussion about the biggest stars to watch during the event.

 

Alex Bilodeau, Canada

All the No. 1 mogul skier in the world has done recently is reach the podium in 14 straight events and win three world championships.

Andy Wong/Associated Press

Perhaps more importantly, he is the defending Olympic gold medalist thanks to his efforts in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He became the first Canadian athlete ever to win an Olympic gold on his home soil.

Bilodeau won’t have the home crowd’s support this time around, but if he does take home another gold, he will make even more history. He would be the first freestyle skier to defend an Olympic title. 

Bilodeau will have to overcome his Canadian teammate to do so.

 

Mikael Kingsbury, Canada

Kingsbury may not have the illustrious resume that Bilodeau has (at least not yet), but the younger skier has reached the podium 20 straight times.

The No. 2 mogul skier in the world is also enjoying himself immensely at the Games:

As an 18-year-old kid in 2010, Kingsbury became the youngest freestyle skier to win a World Cup event in China, and he actually has more career World Cup gold medals (19) than Bilodeau (18). However, the former world champion does not have an Olympic medal. 

At least not yet.

 

Patrick Deneen, United States

If there is going to be an American to crash the Canadian party on the moguls hill, it will be Patrick Deneen.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Deneen actually started as an alpine racer before making the switch to moguls. He has plenty of impressive marks on his resume because of the decision, including the 2008 FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year, the 2009 World Champion and a U.S. title.

Deneen also has an Olympic appearance under his belt, but his 19th-place finishing mark in 2010 was quite a disappointment.

He is more confident this time around, as he told Meri-Jo Borzilleri of The Seattle Times: “I’ve just gotten better and more consistent. I’m really confident…I can ski at 70 percent and be on the podium.”

If Deneen is to win a medal, it will be because of his impressive speed and turns.

If nothing else, look for a North American sweep on the podium.

 

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