Golden Bilodeau reminisces

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency


Alexandre Bilodeau from Montreal, Que.,pumps his fists after winning gold at the men's moguls event at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

It was a clear night at Cypress Mountain on Feb. 14, 2010 and Montreal freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau could see the lights of downtown Vancouver twinkling from where stood atop of the moguls run.

“The mountain was vibrating,” Bilodeau said Monday, the first anniversary of the historic first Olympic gold medal won by Canada. “The sea of red from the bottom, you could feel it in the snow. It was too perfect to be true. Now it's time to ski.”

When he finished, he knew he would be on the podium. But was he good enough for gold?

“I saw the score,” Bilodeau said. “I couldn't believe it.”

Bilodeau not only made Canadian sports history, but he also prevented embarrassment. The silver medallist was Canadian-born, Turin 2006 champion Dale Begg-Smith of Australia. The former Vancouver tech millionaire moved Down Under after the Canadian team said his work clashed with training and competition.

Bilodeau was overwhelmed by the achievement and needed bodyguards to help him navigate Vancouver and get from interview to interview in the days that followed. Almost a week later, he told Freestyle Canada’s publicist to cancel all remaining interviews.

Bilodeau wanted to cheer on fellow Canadian athletes in hockey, figure skating, bobsled and other sports. He also had to keep training because his season was not over.

“I wasn’t enjoying the Games anymore,” he said. “I needed that if I wanted to remember the Games.”

Bilodeau admits he over-trained last summer and didn’t find consistency until mid-January’s world cup stop at Mont Gabriel, Quebec.

Earlier this month, he won silver at the single moguls world championship and gold in dual moguls at Deer Valley, Utah.

“I was skiing pretty well in training, but I was trying too much,” he said.

Bilodeau has parlayed his gold medal into sponsorship deals from Nike, The Bay, Audi and Quaker and is learning about how to handle his new-found wealth.

He is majoring in accounting at the Molson Business School at Concordia University via correspondence courses.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca