Olympic Gold: Twice As Nice the Second Time Around
It’s the perfect way to end a golden career. Alex Bilodeau, Olympic Champion in Vancouver, is competing in his last season on the World Cup circuit. But before moving onto the next chapter in his life, Alex wanted to defend his Olympic crown in Sochi. It had never been done on moguls; and the last time a Canadian successfully defended their Olympic title, was in 2002 when Catriona Le May Doan defended her 500 metres Speed Skating Gold medal from four years prior.
Alex and Mikael Kingsbury have been playing leapfrog with each other all season long leading up to Sochi. With each of them winning three events, and when they didn’t win, they were one step down on the podium looking up at their teammate. With a small lead heading into Sochi, Alex was the Overall World Cup leader and had the momentum of winning the past three World Cup stops. He had the momentum to win again in Sochi. The only person who stood in his way was the reigning World Champion, and teammate, Mikael Kingsbury. The 21-year-old has won 19 World Cups since his debut in the 2009-10 season, where he won FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year.
In the super-final at “Rosa Khutor” Extreme Park, Bilodeau calmed his nerves, which had gotten him into sketchy territory a few rounds before, and navigated the moguls flawlessly. With a score of 26.31, Alex took his place in the hot seat and had to nervously wait for the rest of the field to compete. Kingsbury was the last competitor and attacked each bump, knees absorbing the impact of four moguls per second. Midway down the 28-degree gradient hill, Mikael couldn’t match Alex’s intensity and his knees separated and bobbled. He was able to recover quickly, but the mistake shut the door on a Gold medal. Mikael would finish 2nd with a score of 24.34.
“It’s a great feeling, but I need to first of all thank all my colleagues,” Bilodeau said. "I was the third to go, there were two other Canadians after me, every day they push me in training and that’s why I got my best skiing tonight. That’s why I’m the best skier I have ever been right now and the guy that finished second, he is going to win everything after I have gone.
With his name in the history books as Canada’s first athlete to win a gold medal on home soil as well as his the first to win back to back Olympic gold in moguls, Alex Bilodeau is ready to write the next chapter in his life with a the pride of a nation behind him.