It’s only fair that the first Olympic gold medal won by a Canadian at a Canadian games goes to a skier.
30 years ago the Crazy Canucks became Canada’s skiing heroes. I remember watching the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games in 1980 as Steve Podborski took bronze in the men’s downhill (and Ken Read, another of the Crazy Canucks, unfortunately crashed). Forget hockey – flying down a frozen hill at hundreds of miles an hour is what takes guts – you need to be a little crazy. The Canadians came up during a time when European skiers dominated the sport of skiing. Watching fellow Canadians do that – and win medals – was, and still is, inspiring.
Here’s a clip of Steve Podborksi talking about the challenges in 1980, and introducing the course for the 2010 Olympic men’s downhill at Whistler.
Now Alexandre Bilodeau continues the tradition with a gold medal in men’s freestyle moguls, crashing down those bumps like they were just pillows. I’ve skied a few of those – one at a time – and the camera angles don’t show how high the bumps really are.
Bilodeau is on his way to becoming another sports ambassador for Canada, and an inspiration to Canada’s next generations. Asked by NBC’s Today show this morning how he planned to celebrate, he said he’s going to cheer on his teammates who are competing in the next few days.