WEST VANCOUVER (CityNews) – On Cypress Mountain on Feb. 18, 2010, Canadian Olympic history was made.
The black diamond mogul run where it all happened is now aptly named Alexandre Bilodeau’s Gold. It’s where the then-freestyle skier came down in front of judges a decade ago to win Canada’s first gold medal on home turf.
“When Alexander won that gold medal, it was a turning point for the whole Olympics in Vancouver and it was really when the vibe in Vancouver took off in a positive direction,” Joffrey Koeman with Cypress Mountain said. “I think the celebration vibe of the city took off.”
The win, even now a decade later, has left a lasting mark on Cypress Mountain.
The Quebec native said while he aimed to make it to the top of the podium, being the first to claim a gold medal on Canadian soil was something he had never imagined.
“It’s kind of a dream coming true for an athlete winning the Olympic Games and winning at home, it’s totally a different ball game. You can’t even schedule that, you can’t even organize that so it was definitely a timing thing that at my peak I was able to compete at home in the Olympics,” Bilodeau said in an interview with CityNews Vancouver.
He added there was an additional layer of pressure the night before his performance, knowing the gold medal could be his.
“You’re like ‘Okay, it’s our turn tomorrow,’ and then you can’t sleep. You call your sports psychologist, your hamster’s running and your psychologist calms you down.”
Bilodeau’s Olympic success didn’t end in Vancouver. The now-retired freestyle skier from Montreal also defended his gold medal four years later in Sochi.
While he still hits the slopes from time to time, Bilodeau has changed his focus from watching the judge’s scoring board to crunching numbers on spreadsheets as an employee at a private equity firm.
“Definitely sometimes we’re in negotiations and people are like ‘Where do I know you from?’ And people don’t expect me to be on the other side of the table, so it’s something special,” he said.
Back at Cypress Mountain, young skiers with their own Olympic dreams now train where Bilodeau’s own dreams were accomplished.
“Our freestyle club is still training there every weekend teaching kids how to ride moguls so yeah it’s a big legacy,” Koeman says.