Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's Olympic Gold Medalist, First to Win Gold on Home Soil, Ever
Marking Olympic History, Alexandre Bilodeau is the first Canadian in history to win Olympic Gold on Canada's home soil.
"It will be a special moment tonite," says the Olympic Gold Medalist at a COC press conference today, referring to the Medal ceremonies. "Obviously I have goosebumps inside to touch an Olympic Gold Medal. I looked at Jenn's [Heil] medal but I didn't touch it."
The humble and self-reflective Bilodeau credits his older brother, who suffers from cerebral palsy, with inspiring him. He says his brother wakes up with a big smile and goes to bed with a big smile. "Whenever I feel like complaining I just shut up and get on with it. My brother is such an example of perserverence and happiness," said Bilodeau. That perserverence has paid off...now the young 23 year old has won Olympic Gold for Canada, on home soil, in downhill Mogul skiing. "This medal is for my brother," said Bilodeau.
Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's Olympic Gold Medalist
"The first Olympic Gold Medal for Canada is not worth more than the second or the third..."
In conjunction with the Canada Olympic Committee's Own The Podium program, a group of Canadian businessmen got together after Salt Lake City and formed B2Ten. This B2Ten project is one of private business mentoring and supporting a select group of elite athletes with the goal of winning Olympic and other world-class sports feats and medals.
B2ten supports athletes by providing access to training resources, support services and technology that meet the specific needs of each athlete.
Since it’s inception in 2005, B2ten-supported athletes have delivered a long-list of World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medals for Canada.
Bilodeau is quick to acknowledge the incredible support as an athlete he has received from both the B2Ten and Own The Podium programs, working in conjunction with the COC. Support came in the form of extra physio, massage, training, mentoring, and even bio-mechanic expertise. And the business leaders who fund the B2Ten ask for nothing in return - no logos displayed on the athlete's uniforms, no formal or public recognition. They just ask that the athletes do their best. "I've been having cocktails with the biggest business leaders in Canada; people who themselves have thousands of people who work for them, who they are responsible for." He says this helped him prepare for the pressure of competing in the Olympics on behalf of his country. "I thought of that in preparing for my run down the mountain." A run that won Bilodeau, and Canada, the first-ever Olympic Gold Medal on home ground.
Tonight, at B.C. Place when he is awarded his medal, he will be standing on a wooden podium harvested through sustainable forest management. The Province of British Columbia is a leader, worldwide, in sustainable forest management. Each podium was assembled from more than 200 pieces and built from one of 18 different wood types donated by communities from all over the Province, including companies, individuals and First Nations. Twenty-three podiums will be at 11 venues. There will be nightly ceremonies at B.C. Place to award the victors their Olympic Medals.
"It's just the beginning of a big party for me right now," acknowledges Bilodeau, who admitted to getting a whole 3 hours of sleep in the 24 hours following his historic run. Even Premier Campbell was on hand to congratulate the Olympian. "All of us in Vancouver were up until 3 a.m. celebrating with you," rasped the Premier of B.C. whose voice had gone slightly hoarse over the celebrations. "You make us all proud. And give my best to your brother."
Peter Judge of the COC remarked that, "I've seen many extraordinary accomplishments but what I saw last night will live in my memory forever." Judge has been a strong advocate of both the Own The Podium and B2Ten programs for the Canadian athletes. He pointed out that the technical expertise lent to the teams resulted in the downhiill mogul skiing, as a sport, being measured also by optical timers, a refinement that has had impactful results on the sport.
Today, February 15th, also marked B.C. Clean Energy Day. Premier Campbell and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Blair Lekstrom, resident of Dawson's Creek, were on hand to announce several clean energy programs for the Province today. British Columbia operates on 90% renewable energy.
British Columbia the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, paper and bio-energy products that help mitigate climate change and provide innovative solutions to green building and energy needs.