Mikaël Kingsbury is the middle child of Julie Thibaudeau and Robert Kingsbury. He has an older brother, Maxime, and a younger sister, Audrey. Both his father and brother are chiropractors and work at their family clinic in Saint-Eustache, Quebec, along with his mother, who is a chiropractic assistant.
When Maxime was four years old and Mikaël was three years old, their parents signed them up for skiing. “We figured we would sign them up for skiing so we could do a sport as a family,” Robert Kingsbury told the Montreal Gazette in 2007, “but we never figured it would turn out like this.”
Even as a young child, Mikaël enjoyed skiing over bumps and jumping. At the age of seven, he saw the Mont Saint-Sauveur moguls team, and he joined their club a year later. His Olympic dream began at nine, when he watched men’s moguls at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. When he was 10 years old, he printed an image of the Olympic rings and wrote “Je vais gagner” (“I will win”) underneath.
In his teens, Mikaël dominated junior moguls competition, having won the gold medal in moguls at the Canadian Junior Freestyle National Championships for three straight years (2006–2008). He was also the 2007 Junior Freestyle National Champion in aerials.
Mikaël’s siblings were also successful freestyle skiers. By the time he was 16, Maxime had won two bronze medals in single moguls at the Canadian National Junior Freestyle Skiing Championships (2006 and 2007) and a silver medal in dual moguls at the 2005 Canadian National Junior Freestyle Skiing Championships. Audrey was the Quebec girls’ moguls circuit champion in 2007.
Nor-Am Cup Competition
At the age of 15, Kingsbury started representing Canada on the Nor-Am Cup circuit. In January 2008, he competed in two events in Val Saint-Come, Quebec, placing 10th in moguls and 11th in dual moguls. He was the youngest competitor in the top 35.
On 10 January 2009, Kingsbury won the bronze medal in Killington, Vermont, his first Nor-Am Cup podium. In 2010, he won five gold medals on the Nor-Am Cup circuit, including a dual moguls victory at Apex Mountain Resort in Penticton, British Columbia. It was clear he was ready for the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup circuit. In the first three months of 2010, he participated in five World Cup events, finishing fourth at two events, and he was named the 2010 FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year.
Also in 2010, Kingsbury attended the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where he watched Alex Bilodeau win the men’s moguls competition and become the first Canadian to win an Olympic gold medal in Canada.
World Cup Success
In 2010–11, Kingsbury participated in his first full season on the World Cup circuit. He won eight World Cup medals, including his first gold in Beida Lake, China, on 21 December 2010. He also won the first of six consecutive World Cup gold medals at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta (2011–16). Kingsbury finished third in the World Cup standings in 2010–11 and also won the silver medal in dual moguls and the bronze medal in moguls at the 2011 FIS World Freestyle Ski Championships in Deer Valley, Utah.
The following season (2011–12), Kingsbury won his first of six consecutive World Cup titles and, at age 19, he became the youngest male moguls skier to win the Crystal Globe (overall World Cup champion).He won eight moguls events that season, including gold in dual moguls in Mont-Gabriel, Quebec, on 14 January 2012. In 2012–13, Kingsbury won six more World Cup events and another Crystal Globe. He also won his first World Championship in men’s moguls in Voss-Myrkdalen, Norway, on 6 March 2013.
First Olympic Season, 2013–14
Kingsbury started the 2013–14 season with three straight World Cup wins, followed by two second-place finishes and a sixth-place finish leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi — his first as a competitor. Teammate Alex Bilodeau, the 2010 Olympic champion, had more momentum going into the Olympics, having won three consecutive World Cup competitions prior to Sochi. Bilodeau defended his gold medal, posting a score of 26.31 points in the Olympic men’s moguls final. Kingsbury settled for Olympic silver, with 24.71 points. However, he won another two World Cup gold medals in March 2014 and again finished first overall in World Cup freestyle competition.
After Bilodeau’s retirement from competition in October 2014, Kingsbury’s dominance was clear. That season, he won gold in dual moguls and silver in moguls at the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships, as well as seven World Cup events. On 1 March 2015, Kingsbury set a record for the most consecutive World Cup moguls wins (seven) when he won a dual moguls event in Tazawako, Japan.
On 12 December 2015, Kingsbury set a record for the most career World Cup moguls wins (moguls and dual moguls) with 29 when he won a dual moguls World Cup in Ruka, Finland. It was one of five World Cup victories that season.
Kingsbury continued to push the boundaries of the sport, executing a very difficult cork 1440 (partial back flip with four twists) during a training session in Australia in September 2016. He is the first to successfully land the jump on a moguls course. In 2016–17, he won nine more World Cup events and his sixth straight Crystal Globe. However, he placed third in men’s moguls at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships, behind gold medalist Ikuma Horishima of Japan and silver medalist Benjamin Cavet of France.
Olympic Champion, 2018
Kingsbury began the 2017–18 season on a strong note, winning three gold medals in December 2017. His dominance continued in January 2018, as he won three World Cup medals. He was considered a top contender for Olympic gold at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. At the Games, Kingsbury won gold in the men’s moguls event, cementing his dominance in freestyle skiing. He scored 86.63 in the final run, ahead of Australia’s Matt Graham (82.57) and Japan’s Daichi Hara (82.19). Canadian Marc-Antoine Gagnon finished fourth.
Lou Marsh Trophy
On 11 December 2018, Kingsbury became the first freestyle skier to be awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year. The CBC’s Scott Russell, one of the adjudicators for the award, said, “Mikaël Kingsbury is quite simply the best athlete his sport has ever seen. He has been a part of the Lou Marsh conversation for the past five years. All he lacked was an Olympic Gold Medal. He has achieved that now. Mikaël Kingsbury has answered every question asked of him. His selection in what was a terrific field of candidates is beyond dispute.”