After winning the gold medal in the moguls on Monday night, the first thing Canadian skier Alex Bilodeau wanted to do was thank the man who inspired him to reach for his dreams.
Bilodeau’s inspiration wasn’t a father, mentor or one of the other usual suspects. He simply wanted to thank his older brother Frederic, who was born with cerebral palsy.
According to Jason Blevins of The Denver Post (h/t Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports), Alex’s first move after taking first in men’s moguls was rushing to the event barriers and hoisting his brother from a raucous crowd of fellow Canadians.
Draped in a Canadian flag, the two men jumped up and down, reveling in the moment. Alex went on to dedicate his gold medal performance to Frederic, who inspires him to wake up and approach each day with purpose.
“Whatever I do in life, my brother is my real inspiration,” Alex said. “Just like you and I, [Frederic] has dreams and most of them are not realizable to him...With his motivation, he would be four-time Olympic champion. Every step is so hard for him in life and I have an easy path and I need to go after and do the best I can just out of respect to him...He is my everyday inspiration.”
Native Canadians, Alex and Frederic have a longstanding love for winter sports. According to a 2010 documentary aired on CTV, Alex was a gifted hockey player as a youth, but changed to skiing in order to spend more time with his big brother.
In a Winter Olympics bogged down by lodging complaints and cultural friction, the relationship between Alex and Frederic provides viewers with a fresh sense of why these athletes are here and what this occasion is all about.
Hopefully we’ll see these two brothers cheering on the Canadian women’s hockey team as they face the U.S. this Wednesday.
Better yet, lets hope Frederic gets to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. The man could really benefit from a hug and a smile.
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