Canada Wins First Gold on Home Soil

By Justine Frostad — 02/15/10
Red, white…and now gold! Canada has won its first Olympic gold medal on home soil. Freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau won the men’s moguls Sunday.
Bilodeau is 22 years old and is from Quebec. Heading into the Games, he was ranked fourth.
Bilodeau beat defending Olympic champion Dale Begg-Smith. It was sweet revenge for those Canadians who are upset that their fellow Canadian Begg-Smith now competes for Australia.
Bilodeau told reporters at the Games that his brother Frederic, who was born with cerebral palsy and attended the competition, inspires him on and off the slopes.
Although this is the third Olympic Games Canada has hosted, this was the first gold medal the nation has won on its turf. Canada hosted the Summer Games in Montreal in 1976 and the Winter Games in Calgary in 1988.
So Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quick to call Bilodeau to congratulate him. Later the gold medalist told reporters that this is only the beginning for Canada’s Olympic team.
The young Olympian boosted Canadian morale which was deflated when women’s moguls skier Jennifer Heil took home a less-shiny silver on Saturday. She had been predicted to win the first gold.
The gold medal comes as a relief to Canadian officials, especially in light of the $117 million that has been poured into Own The Podium (OTP).
OTP is a national strategy to develop Canadian sports and dominate the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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