SOCHI, Russia -- The Rocket will have to pick and choose his spots for liftoff in the men's moguls competition at the Olympics.
U.S. freestyle skier Patrick Deneen, a former world champion with an explosive nickname, takes on the new format as well as the competition as the event starts Monday with qualification and three more rounds. It finishes with a Super Final of six men.
Deneen and Bradley Wilson, the younger brother of 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson, are the two U.S. entrants. Among the favorites are two Canadians: 2010 gold medalist Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury, the world champion in 2013.
Dale Begg-Smith of Australia, gold medalist in Turin in 2006 and silver medalist in 2010, stepped away from the sport for three years after Vancouver but could factor in because of his vast experience. In 2010, Bilodeau won by a slight 0.17 and it was Canada's first gold in Vancouver.
The women dealt with the new, more demanding format Saturday night, and Canadian sisters Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe upset defending gold medalist American Hannah Kearney, who took the bronze.
"It's easy to do once but it's a lot tougher to do three times," Deneen said. "I know, for me, being physically tired isn't my worries. It's more about trying to make sure my technical stuff is working.
"Over the past four years, I've really gotten consistent and really worked on having consistent turns and being able to lay down the same runs over and over again. That's really what it's going to take at the Olympics. Both Brad and I have some pretty big jumps.
"I can't speak for him, but I'm going to try to qualify with a lower DD (degree of difficulty) and hopefully bring up a higher DD in the finals in the round of six."
Bradley Wilson made four World Cup podiums in 2013; Bryon was a surprise medalist at the 2010 Olympics. The Wilson brothers grew up in Butte, Mont., and built their own ski courses when they were kids. Both are accomplished artists.
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