I’ve been glued to the TV since this past weekend, watching with eager anticipation as each Canadian athlete takes their turn to attempt to win a gold, to be the first to do so on Canadian soil.
On Saturday night the dream was achieved by Alexandre Bilodeau, who is truly inspiring and I don’t mean that just because he’s a great athlete, has a great competitive drive and a true sense of good sportsmanship. I mean that Alexandre stated that one of the things that inspired him the most to train and to try to win that medal was his older brother Frédéric, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He said that watching his brother face such adversity in his life with courage and a smile made him strive that much harder. Alexandre said that his brother was his inspiration and his hero.
Watching his story broadcast over the TV on Saturday night just prior to his competing in the moguls made me cry. The Son was in my arms, for those of you not aware he also has cerebral palsy, and together we watched video of Alexandre and Frédéric walking along and talking about what it’s taken and what’s inspired them to get this far and how proud they are of each other. It made me tear up.
Then The Son and I sat there watching the moguls, watching all those other well deserving athletes compete in the moguls, watched as Vincent Marquis, was pushed out of first to second, then to third. We watched unhappily as Dale Begg-Smith took first, and we sat there praying and hoping as we watched Alexandre ski and I held my breath, almost closing my eyes in anticipation of him taking the gold.
When it was announced that Alexandre Bilodeau took gold I leapt out of my seat with The Son in my arms and we spun around cheering, I jumped up and down holding tight onto The Son all the time crying out ‘Bilodeau’ and The Son just laughed hysterically from it all.
I watched as Dale Begg-Smith refused to get up and congratulate Alexandre, he just shuffled over to the second place seat on the big marshmallow sofa, and even after when they stood before the cheering crowd Begg-Smith had the look of someone who’d just bitten off a large piece of lemon. He didn’t smile but scowled through it all. He didn’t hold up an Australian flag, his country by choice, having left Canada when they kicked him off the ski team for lack of commitment. I remember well why he was kicked off the team. He was grandstanding and refusing to show up for practice.
I was so glad that he was not representing Canada, his lack of good sportsmanship and his surly demeanor would have been more than embarrassing and I’m glad that he’s now Australia’s pride and joy!
Alexandre made up for that lacking of Begg-Smiths manners, with his beaming smile and his humble responses during the interview. He kept saying that Canada has a lot of great athletes and that there will be other gold medals won during the 2010 games. Watching him hug his brother Frédéric and the two of them almost in tears made me cry with happiness for them.
Canada has finally won gold on home soil and I have to say that it couldn’t have been a more deserving athlete to do it, in my humble opinion!