Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury did little to dispel the notion that they are the favorites for gold in the men's moguls.
The Canadian duo finished first and second in qualification on Monday at the 2014 Winter Games, while American Patrick Deneen shook off a tough first run to advance to the final.
Bilodeau will have a chance to defend the gold medal he won in this event at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where he became the first Canadian ever to capture an Olympic gold medal on home soil. Now in his third Winter Games, the 26-year-old had the top qualifying score of 24.70.
That was ahead of 21-year-old countryman Kingsbury, who comes in ranked No. 2 in the world behind only Bilodeau. Kingsbury, participating in his first Olympic Games, posted a score of 23.81.
Two other Canadians advanced in the first part of qualifying, where the top 10 scores moved on. Marc-Antoine Gagnon finished fifth with a score of 22.90, while Philippe Marquis was sixth.
American Bradley Wilson, the younger brother of 2010 bronze medalist Bryon Wilson, finished ninth in the first qualifying run, but Deneen needed a second round after losing control on his first trip down the hill.
Deneen's first score of 10.36 was 25th, but the remaining skiers who failed to advance on the first run had second chances. Deneen took full advantage by posting a top score of 22.38.
The 26-year-old Deneen currently sits third on the World Cup leaderboard in moguls behind Bilodeau and Kingsbury.
Dale Begg-Smith, the Vancouver-born millionaire who skis for Australia and who won the event in 2006, failed to advance. His first score of 19.74 was 19th when the first run was completed and the veteran fell on his second attempt for a score of just 9.65.