I was never the one to watch the Winter Olympics – never around the snow that much. I guess it was just too cold for me. This year, I decided to watch as much as I could of the 2014 Winter Olympics. I have to admit that I have enjoyed the athleticism and dare-devil styles of these young dedicated people.
Although the USA is not fairing at the top, we are still making it to the awards stand regularly and we are winning a few gold medals. I always root for my country and hope we can claim a victory. I wasn’t too disappointed that the USA didn’t win the gold in the Men’s Moguls competition – you’ll see why in a bit.
The Moguls is a ski-slope event that has snow bumps all the way down (roughly a 25 to 30 second run). There are two small hills toward the end in which the competitor flips or turns in the air for points on style. This event is not just judged on speed.
Alex Bilodeau was born on September 8, 1987. He stands at 5’ 8” and weighs 170 lbs. He’s a Canadian skier from Montreal, Quebec and currently resides in Rosemere, Quebec. He was the youngest athlete in history to win a World Cup Moguls event. In 2009 Alex won four straight World Cup events.
Alex won the gold in this event in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He was looking to repeat in the 2014 winter games – training as hard as he could. As we all know in the Olympics … anything goes. Look what happened to Shaun White from the USA – the best at the half pipe in snowboarding for years. He ended up with a fourth place finish.
What keeps Alex going? What motivates him and gives him the enormous amount of energy to climb to the top each time? Before we continue with his performance at the 2014 winter games, let’s take a look at his brother, Frederic.
Frederic is Alex’s older brother who has cerebral palsy (CP) – a permanent non-progressive-movement disorder that causes physical disability in development. It’s not genetic or contagious. Most cases hit at the time of birth and are diagnosed at a young age.
“Frederic is my inspiration. There were times when I got out of bed and it was raining – I just didn’t feel like training that day. All I had to do was look at Frederic and his unbelievable enthusiasm. That was my jumpstart – I looked forward to training after one look,” Alex said.
When Alex looks at Frederic, it hurts him so much that his brother has such a passion for the sport in the snow. He realizes that his brother will never have that opportunity – it just isn’t realistic. When he competes it’s for his brother then for himself. He dedicates his wins to Frederic who is at every competition cheering like crazy.
Frederic was able to travel to Sochi to watch Alex – another competition once again. In the front of the pack you could hear him cheering loud for Alex. He was so happy that Alex made it to the finals with a pretty good score – but not the top score. He had two final down-slope runs left. On his first run he faltered a little and did not get a great score – he was still holding the second-place spot.
It was finally time for Alex to make his final run and a chance for the gold. Frederic was watching behind a rope (tied across to control the crowd) with his family and a pack of people. Alex took off skiing – everything was clicking his way downhill moving his skis side to side through the bumps. He came to the first hill and flipped all the way around with style. He landed nicely and continued to the next hill. In the second hill he got up in the air, flipped several times, and stuck the landing. As he crossed the finish line he yelled and raised his hands up in the air. His brother Frederic knew it was close to perfect as he also raised his hands straight up and yelled as he looked at Alex.
Alex was waiting for his score at the staging area full of smiles as he looked on at the people. The score came through at 26.1 passing all competitors! He ran over to give his brother the biggest hug and held that for several seconds. You look at that scene and you see the word “subtext”. That’s right – there’s a lot of underlying history that only these two could begin to know.
Alex won the gold with a score of 26.1, his teammate, Mikael Kinsbury, won the silver at 24.7, and Russian Alexander Smyshlyaev won the bronze at 24.34.
“My brother is the best, he is my inspiration. I have no doubt that if he was capable he could be a three-time champion in this event,” Alex said in tears.
Alex dedicated the gold medal to his brother Frederic, his best fan and motivator. We don’t need to say how much he loves his brother because he displayed it in a passionate way that most people would admire.
Well done Alex, congratulations on such an amazing victory in the Olympics, not just in the sport of skiing, but in the sport of being a loving brother.