Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Our hero... Bilodeau

Saves us the indignity of watching treacherous Begg-Smith win gold

  • Print

WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The shutout is over.

His name is Alex Bilodeau. He is 22 years old. His mother forced him to quit playing hockey at the age of seven, so he grudgingly moved to the freestyle club at the local ski hill.

The moguls skier from Rosemere, Que., goes down in history as the first Canadian to ever win gold on home soil.

"I don't think I realize it yet," said Canada's newest sporting hero, standing under the bright lights at Cypress Mountain. "It's just too good to be true."

And to think Bilodeau also saved people from coast to coast the indignity of watching West Vancouver native Dale Begg-Smith become the first Canadian to hit the top of the podium at home... on behalf of his adopted country of Australia.

"Alex took the first gold," said Canadian coach Dominick Gauthier. "The other athletes can just breathe a bit. The first gold has been won."

And the pressure, to a degree, is off.

"Of course people would have freaked out like we did for Beijing," Gauthier said of the entire week without a single medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. "Now it's done."

Canada's dubious shutout streak on home soil extended through the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and two days of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Jenn Heil, Bilodeau's training partner, won silver Saturday. The country expected gold.

A crowd of 8,269 hearty souls at Cypress Mountain went wild over the rare privilege of witnessing history unfold before them.

Begg-Smith entered the Olympics as the undisputed favourite to win gold. Born in West Vancouver, the self-made millionaire moved to Australia back in 2001 in a spat with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. Canadian officials refused to allow the rising star the flexibility to balance his burgeoning Internet advertising business with training. So he left and proceeded to win gold for Australia at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

The 25-year-old cruised into first place with a score of 26.58. Then came Bryon Wilson. The unknown American finished just back with a score of 26.08.

Bilodeau stood at the top of the hill and took a deep breath.

"I had no regrets over what I've done in the last four years," he told himself. "I'm ready. The most ready I've ever been."

And he was. Bilodeau launched himself down the hill, flew over the jumps, landed cleanly and roared over the finish line in 23.17 seconds. He finished with a combined scored of 26.75 to knock Begg-Smith out of first place.

"I don't believe it yet," Bilodeau said. "It's been a dream since I was a little kid, and it's come true."

 

-- Canwest News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2010 A11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Humans of the Holidays (in Winnipeg)

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who would you like to see the Bombers hire as defensive co-ordinator?

View Results

Ads by Google