Day 3 of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi brought the men's moguls competition to the forefront as several skiers looked to add to their country's medal count with a huge run to the final.
Much like the women's moguls, where they took home the gold and silver medals, the Canadians were looking to dominate the men's moguls competition.
After putting through the top three skiers into the super final competition, Canadian Alex Bilodeau came out on top with teammate Mikael Kingsbury just behind him, while Russian Alexandr Smyshlyaev crashed the Canadian party with the bronze medal.
The win made Bilodeau the first-ever freestyle skier to repeat at the Winter Games, according to former Olympic skiier and current NBC analyst Jeremy Bloom:
Congrats to the first ever back-to-back Freestyle Olympic Gold Medalist @ABilodeau_ski From Canada!!— Jeremy Bloom (@JeremyBloom11) February 10, 2014
Bilodeau won the gold medal back in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and came in as the favorite once again in Sochi, according to the Globe's Olympics Twitter account:
Bloom commented on the field heading into the super final:
So far this is the best display of mogul skiing that I have ever seen. When everyone is skiing this well it is super helpful to qualify 1st.— Jeremy Bloom (@JeremyBloom11) February 10, 2014
With four Canadians, one Russian and just one American advancing to the second moguls final, the odds were still certainly in the Canadians' favor. After the second round, five out of those six made the finals, with Patrick Deneen and Smyshlyaev qualifying for the Americans and Russians, respectively.
With Bilodeau and his teammate both winning medals, here is a look at the final results for each of the super finals competitors and a breakdown of each medal winner.
Alex Bilodeau, Canada
Bilodeau clearly came in as the top contender and dominated in the final race to defend his gold medal.
But after the first men's final, he nearly dropped out of contention with a run that landed him in eighth place.
He bounced back in the second final, moving up to third place, trailing only his two fellow countrymen. Then, in the third final, Bilodeau proved why he entered the competition with the No. 1 bib, scoring 1.6 points higher than anyone else.
CBC Olympics provided a quote from the top contender before his finals appearance:
Continuing to win is exactly what Bilodeau did, adding to not only his country's medal count but also to his own legend in the Winter Olympics.
The 26-year-old could very well hang up the skis after the 2014 Winter Olympics, but with his name securely atop the moguls world, he might have one more run in him during the 2018 Games.
Mikael Kingsbury, Canada
Kingsbury, who wore the No. 2 bib, was the No. 2 Canadian coming into this competition. And after a splendid run that beat every other competitor except one, Kingsbury still remains in the shadows of Bilodeau.
One of the best moguls skiers in the world, Kingsbury appeared to be the only true competition for Bilodeau. But after the top skier's insane last run, Kingsbury couldn't overcome Bilodeau.
Despite the fact that he didn't win the competition, he helped his country jump atop the medal count:
In an interview before leaving for Sochi, Kingsbury talked about what he hoped to accomplish before the event started, per Vicki Hall of Canada.com:
Maybe after the Olympics, I’ll be a little more popular. More known. [...] But I don’t really care about that. I just like to ski and try to win some World Cups. If I do good at the Olympics, if I win, we’ll see.
With his run, Kingsbury not only helps boost his popularity in Canada, but also proved that he could be a competitor to watch for years to come.
Kingsbury will be just 25 years old and looking for his first gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Alexandr Smyshlyaev, Russia
The clear crowd favorite in his home country of Russia, Smyshlyaev surprised the field with his third-place finish sandwiched between the final three Canadians.
Wearing bib No. 5 coming into the competition, Smyshlyaev got a huge boost from the host fans, much like his figure skating statesmen, to finish with a bronze medal and add to his country's already impressive collection.
Bloom described the excitement of the crowd following the announcement that Smyshlyaev was guaranteed a medal:
Russian Alex Smyshlyaev guaranteed a medal.. crowd going crazy!— Jeremy Bloom (@JeremyBloom11) February 10, 2014
Smyshlyaev is now in the same situation as his top competitor in Bilodeau. At 26 years old, he could very well ride out as a medal winner. But after his success in the 2014 Winter Olympics, he could make a return in 2018 to attempt to claim a higher result at 30.
Regardless of what the future holds for the Russian veteran, his third-place finish adds to the surprising results by the Russian contingent thus far, further proving that the host country is one of the top contenders in the overall medal count.