By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WILMINGTON, N.Y. (AP) - Defending Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau won a World Cup moguls event on Wednesday, and American Patrick Deneen clinched a spot in next month’s Sochi Games with a second-place finish at Whiteface Mountain.

Bradley Wilson also claimed bronze for the U.S. men. Canada’s Justine Dufour-LaPointe won the women’s competition, with Heidi Kloser and Hannah Kearney of the U.S. taking the last two spots on the podium.

“I was very happy with my skiing,” said Bilodeau, who plans to retire after next month’s Sochi Olympics. “I made a couple of mistakes in the super final. The last run of the day was my worst, but I did well enough to win.”

Deneen, from Snoqualmie Pass, Wash., locked up an Olympic berth with his runner-up finish.

“It was 99 percent before today, and it’s 100 percent today,” Deneen said of making the Olympic team. “I feel really good with where I’m at with my skiing. I kept a lot of DD (degree of difficulty) in my back pocket today and still came out with the silver, and that feels good. I am hoping to put all the pieces in place for a winning run in the Olympics.”

Deneen’s other podium finish this season was a bronze in Calgary, Alberta.

Bradley Wilson finished third, one position in front of his older brother, Bryon, who won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlyaev placed fifth and Mikael Kingsbury of Canada was sixth.

Dufour-LaPointe won the women’s event after finishing with the 14th-best result in the first of two qualifying runs. She had a winning total of 79.66 points.

“It was really awesome winning today because I didn’t start off very well,” Dufour-LaPointe said. “I needed to find my lion and tiger in me after that, and I did.”

After placing second last month in Austria to win her first World Cup medal, Kloser, of Vail, Colo., did it again on Wednesday.

Kearney, of Norwich, Vt., said she wasn’t thrilled with third, but said her focus is set on defending her Olympic title.

“The podium is fairly meaningless today,” Kearney said. “On the final run, my feet kind of got out from under. My second run today was probably more like the one I wanted.”

Sophia Schwartz of the U.S. placed fourth. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva finished fifth and American Eliza Outtrim was sixth.

The final World Cup moguls event before the Olympics will be Saturday in Val St. Come, Canada.

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