Canada has finally won a gold medal on home soil.
With chants of “Canada … Canada” from the crowd, Alex Bilodeau pulled off the run of his lifetime in the men’s moguls Sunday at Cypress Mountain.
Bilodeau cemented his name in the history books, becoming the first Canadian to ever win a gold medal in this country, making up for the heartbreak of the 1976 Games in Montreal and the 1988 Games in Calgary.
Despite immense pressure, the 22-year-old from Rosemere, Que., flew down the hill, flawlessly edging his way over the moguls and picked up major points for his back-double-full off the first jump, considered one of the most difficult tricks in the competition.
“I went out and I knew what to do,” Bilodeau told CTV immediately following his gold medal run. “I have no regret on what I’ve done in the last four years. I’ve said I’m read, the most ready I’ve ever been.”
Defending Olympic champion Dale Begg-Smith, of Australia, picked up the silver and Bryon Wilson of the United States captured the bronze.
Vincent Marquis added to the Canadian success on the day, finishing in fourth place after sitting atop the podium until Begg-Smith and Wilson bumped him off at the end.
Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau had a stellar run of his own, dazzling the crowd with his big air and finishing in fifth place.
Maxime Gingras had a bit of trouble in his final run, failing to recover from a botched landing after the first jump. The Montreal native finished the day in 11th place.
A teary-eyed Bilodeau shared the moment with his older brother Frederic who has cerebral palsy and has been a major influence to his younger sibling.
“It’s really getting me right now,” he told CTV. “My brother is my inspiration. Growing up with a handicap puts everything in perspective.”
Begg-Smith made up for a mediocre qualifying run with a fantastic performance in the finals where he flew down the hill without a glitch, nailing both of his jumps.
The enigmatic Aussie has become a homegrown villain in Vancouver, deliberately avoiding the Canadian media and pulling no punches regarding his national allegiances.
When asked by an Australian reporter whether it is strange coming home to compete, Begg-Smith responded bluntly, “that’s not home.”
Begg-Smith left for Australia when he was 15 following a dispute he had with Canadian freestyle ski officials who openly opposed his Internet business which they felt was taking his focus away from skiing.