Olympian Alexandre Bilodeau: ‘It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world’
The Sochi Games may be over, but Concordia is still celebrating.
On February 10, Alexandre Bilodeau — the first Canadian to win gold on home soil — made Olympic history for a second time when he became the first man to successfully defend a title in a freestyle skiing discipline.
The John Molson School of Business student earned his second gold medal in a risky, near-flawless final performance in the moguls competition.
“That is the run he’s been dreaming of,” said freestyle veteran and two-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Heil, as Bilodeau hoisted one of his skis above his head in a victorious salute to the crowd.
We caught up with the accounting undergrad on his return to Canada.
At Sochi, how did you feel going into the competition?
Alexandre Bilodeau: I was confident and ready. After the sabbatical leave I took in 2011, I came back stronger, and I gave everything in the three following years to be at my best and defend my title.
You stumbled a bit during the first run of the finals, and were sitting in eighth place. How did that affect your attitude?
AB: I was very calm in qualifications and then, sadly, I made a mistake in the first final that could have led to the end of my journey in Sochi.
I was trying to handle the pressure, and I think that is, in fact, exactly what gave me the strength to give my best effort the following run. There is no such thing as a second chance.
Can you describe the feeling of winning a record-breaking gold medal?
AB: It is absolutely the most wonderful feeling in the world. My Vancouver medal was significant because it was a dream come true. The Sochi medal is actually the best way to finish my Olympic career.
Each medal has a very different significance to me, but I’m very proud of both of them.
What were the other highlights of your trip to Sochi?
AB: Having my fiancée, my family and some of my friends there with me definitely made this last Olympic experience special. I also really enjoyed the quality time I spent with my fellow Canadian teammates at the short-track competition.
Clearly your family is important to you. What did it mean to have them all there?
AB: At first, it seemed very complex, especially with the reduced mobility of my brother, Frédéric, who has cerebral palsy.
But it wasn’t an option for us: I needed him to be there with me, to live this adventure through me. He is my inspiration. He is such a huge part of my success.
You’re retiring after the 2014 World Cup season. What's next?
AB: I’m getting married this summer! I also want to spend time with my family and friends, and pass along my message of hope and perseverance at the conferences I’ll be attending over the next few months.
You chose to pursue your studies at Concordia. Are you happy with your decision?
AB: I sure am! It’s my new goal — the new challenge I have. I want to finish my accounting studies and become a certified accountant. I’m really excited about developing myself professionally in something other than skiing.
What advice would you offer your fellow students?
AB: Dream big!
Congratulate Alexandre Bilodeau in person at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 7, at a celebratory reception in the atrium of the John Molson School of Business (MB) Building (1450 Guy St.) on the Sir George Williams Campus. Sign one of Concordia's cards for Alexandre Bilodeau.
Alexandre Bilodeau wasn't the only Concordian to earn a gold medal in Sochi. As team captain, former Stinger Caroline Ouellette played a key role in Canada's victory against the United States in the exciting Olympic final in women’s hockey on February 20. Concordia grad Lisa Haley, BSc 96, also contributed to the gold-medal effort as an assistant coach.