Olympic Moment: Bilodeau Brings Home the Gold to Canada, in Canada
Canada's wait is over.
Alexandre Bilodeau won the men's moguls at the Winter Olympics, giving Canada its first gold medal at a home games.
The host of two previous Olympics (the 1976 Montreal Summer Games and the 1988 Calgary Winter Games) Canada had the dubious distinction of never winning the top prize on home soil — until Sunday night.
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A day after American freestyle skier Hannah Kearney prolonged Canada's drought by bumping defending champion and home favorite Jenn Heil to second place on the last run, Bilodeau blazed through the moguls course with technical precision and high-flying jumps, earning 26.75 points.
Like Heil, he was the penultimate competitor. Unlike Heil, he didn't get pushed to silver by the last skier. When the sixth-place score for France's Guilbaut Colas flashed, Bilodeau leapt to his feet, and the raucous crowd erupted in cheers, eventually serenading Bilodeau, 22, with "O Canada."
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Bilodeau dedicated his gold medal to his older brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy. Frederic rooted for his brother from his wheelchair by the bottom of the course.
Defending champion Dale Begg-Smith, a Canadian-born Australian, won the silver, while American Bryon Wilson surprised for the bronze.
That wasn't the only drought that ended: Johnny Spillane broke through to take the silver medal in the Nordic combined individual normal hill — the first medal of any color the U.S. has won in the Nordic combined, which has been contested since the first Winter Games in 1924. He was four-tenths of a second behind Frenchman Jason Lamy Chappuis. Italian Alessandro Pittin won the bronze.
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Other winners included France's Vincent Jay in the 10-km sprint biathlon, the Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova in the 3,000-meter long track and Germany's Felix Loch in the luge. The youngest luge singles winner, Loch, 20, won on a modified track two days after Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died during a training run crash.