Monday, February 15, 2010

g(O)ld Canada! Bilodeau scores historic upset

Canada has been host to the Olympic games two other times along this year’s Vancouver setting for the 21st Winter Olympiad. The first was in 1976 when Montreal was the host city, and the second, in 1988, was hosted by Calgary. Although they only have 242 medals in Summer Olympic history, they are currently seventh with 119 medals, including 38 gold, at the winter games all-time. With their success, they came into this year without ever winning a gold medal when serving as host. They had five silver and six bronze medals in 1976 and two silver and three bronze medals back in 1988.

The difference coming into this year’s games begins with the previous five winter Olympic games. They have earned double-digit medals in every winter games since 1992. Canada also took home seven gold medals in Torino, Italy in 2006 and Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002, which is their most ever in the winter games. With their performances getting progressively better, a gold medal seemed imminent in 2010.

In only the second day of competition, Canada received the gold they didn’t get in 1976 or 1988. Alexandre Bilodeau finished with a score of 26.75, .17 points ahead of Begg-Smith Dale of Austria, and made history when he stood on the podium and accepted his country’s first medal.

“I don't think I realize what's actually going on today and what's happening to me right now,” Bilodeau said in an interview with reporters after the event.

Bilodeau pulled an upset over the defending champion. No one thought the event would be the one, but when the final skier crossed and had a sixth place finish flashed on the board, the crowd went into an uproar.

“It's so big for Canada," said Bilodeau's coach, Dominick Gauthier in wire reports. “…Now that the first gold is one. The media won’t talk about it anymore. It’s done.”

As it stands now, Canada is fourth with three medals, but it doesn’t matter how they finish now. Gauthier said another interesting point. He said the games are all about Canada now. He’s right. Canada can celebrate on their home soil for the first time ever. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

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