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SPORTS BABE OF THE DAY: Alex Bilodeau, Team Canada Freestyle Skier, Olympic Gold Medalist in Men’s Moguls

SPORTS BABE OF THE DAY PRESENTS: Alex Bilodeau, Team Canada Freestyle Skier, Olympic Gold Medalist in Men’s Moguls, @ABilodeau_ski

Alex Bilodeau, a 1987-baby, has a number of exceptional accomplishments associated with his name, such as three FIS World Champion wins in Dual Moguls, as well as being a two-time Worlds Silver Medalist, however he may be best known for being the first Canadian to win Gold at home. Taking 1st place in the Men’s Moguls at the 2010 games in Vancouver, Alex ignited a new spark in Canadian athletes everywhere, with the pride and determination that he shared with his country.

Now, as Alex prepares for his “last lap” – his final year in his career – he has a new spark within him, driving him to win Gold once again, this time at the Sochi Games.

Alex chatted with the Babes on Babes Dig Balls Radio on Sirius XM, about his new rivalry (but shared respect) for fellow-Canadian, Kingsbury, as well as an additional driving-factor that many may not know about him: Cerebral Palsy. Alex has always been vocal about his brother’s experience with Cerebral Palsy, and now, he is using his notoriety for a good cause, raising awareness across the country; it’s “his duty”, he explained, as he chatted with us about his training, the upcoming games, and his current charity work.

14 Questions with Alex Bilodeau

1. You’re training for Sochi right now – are you getting excited?
Yes, very much! It’s my last season of my career, so I always call it my last lap. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m really excited and motivated to be ready. I’m in the top of my shape, so I can deliver my best performance in Sochi.

2. Miranda used to snowboard, and had this superstition that if she called “Last Run” that’s when she’d fall, and eat it hard. Do you think it’s superstitious to say it’s your last year? Or are you going to go out with a bang?
I’m going out with the most I can. I’ll be ready for it! There are a lot of things that are out of control with the olympics coming up in Sochi; obviously it’s in Russia, and there’s the weather conditions, like their snow conditions, and a lot of things that are out of control. At the end of the day, everybody will be in the same competition, facing the same criteria, so I’ll be ready, and do the best I can. I know I can deliver good results!

3. Miranda always had a superstition while boarding – she had to have her health card in her right pocket, so if she knocked myself out on the hill, it would be on her! If she didn’t have it, that’s when she’d fall! What about you?
I have a superstition – it’s having no superstition!

4. How do you start to train with an event that is so far away? is it hard to stay focused with such a long lead time?
Not at all – for me it’s a whole process. Every Olympic experience is unique, so it’s a whole process of work through those 4 years leading up to it. I set goals through those 4 years. Growing up, and going to Sochi. I’m getting ready to make changes, to be a better skier, to be a better jumper, to be faster, and aim towards the new targets, and the kind of course that Sochi is. It’s a great process, and like I said, it’s my last season in my career, so I’m looking forward to enjoying these games as much as I ever had, and to enjoy the way I ski! There’s no better feeling than doing the best run you can deliver on the slopes, and that’s what I’m expecting of myself for every run!

5. It seems like an obvious question, but since we’ve never had the chance to ask – what was it like winning Gold on Canadian soil, and becoming a major part of Canadian History? Has it ever sunk in? Have you accepted it, or is it one of those things you pass over.
When I was a kid, I’ve been dreaming of this, since I saw Jean-Luc Brassard win the Olympic Gold in 1994 in Moguls skiing, while watching it in my living room with my parents… I was dreaming since that moment for an Olympic Gold. As a kid, I had all those scenarios in my head, but never once was it as good as it was in Vancouver. It was over the top in Vancouver! Winning the Olympics is great, but winning at home is a totally different world! I never expected to have the first Gold; I was the third day, so there was potential for Gold meals before me. For myself, just winning an Olympic Gold – I had flashes when I realized that I had really won, and I thought of Jean-Luc on the podium. When I was on the podium, I was like “It’s my turn! It’s my turn!”. You really can’t believe it.

6. We’re assuming after you won, some endorsement offers came rolling in – you’re actually sponsored by Oakley! So what are your top 3 items you have to have on you when you hit the hill?
Obviously goggles! I can’t go down without goggles – I cry! I’m one of those sensitive-eyes-guys. All my equipment is very important to me. If I have skis and goggles, I could be naked and make it down! Oh, and ski-boots would be the third!

7. Hope, one of our co-hosts, said you were an avid hockey player when you were younger. Is that true?
I was! I stopped quite early, at a young age. I stopped at 8 years old, but I was on a skates at 12 months old! I walked at 9 months, and my parents put me on skates at 12 months! My dad played Junior Major, and I grew up with the sons of Gaétan Boucher, the famous speed-skater and multi-Olympic medalist for Canada. He was my neighbor, so I grew up with his three sons, and I have done speed skating with them, and played hockey through my youth with them. It was a great time. Those three guys are still playing in Europe – they’re pretty good players! I had to quit, because my mom decided to do a family sport, and that was skiing.

8. Mother’s intuition! Mother’s always know best – it paid off!
I was mad at the time, but she was right.

9. Do you have a favorite hockey team?
Obviously being from Montreal, the Habs are very deep down in my heart!

10. When we go to the gym, an iPod is a given! We have to ask, what are the songs or artists most played on your ipod?
It really depends – I’m someone who could one day listen to Metallica, and another day listen to the top 40 hits. It varies quite a bit on my iPod, because It depends how I feel that day – I’ve got such a variety!

11. This is an obvious question, but you’re always going to be remembered for making Canadian history, but what do YOU want to be remembered for?
There’s one thing that Jean-Luc told me – he said “It’s priceless to have a kid that says he started Mogul skiing because he saw me win in 1994”. I never did mogul skiing before I saw him on TV, then I tried the sport, and now I’m an Olympic champion. He told me that was priceless, and now I understand; I want that. I want to be an inspiration to a kid, be a good example, and if I can change the life of that one kid, and one day he becomes an Olympic champion, whether he saw me and started skiing, or saw me and I inspired him to start another sport, that would be very special to me!
Also, I’m doing a lot of work with Cerebral Palsy for my brother, and raising funds towards that research for pediatric health centres in Canada. My family and I, we’ve raised over $500,000 now, and our goal is a Million dollars by 2015, so I want to be remembered for that, too. It’s something important; I’m putting my brother in front of the media, because he loves it, and it’s a great cause. I’ll fight for it. My brother has inspired me to be an Olympic champion, and a better person, and all of these kids that I see when I go into pediatric health centres… they’re an inspiration. I have nothing to complain about, when I’m a totally normal kid, so I need to give back, and now I’m in a position where I can raise money for these kids! It’s a duty that I have – I have to do it.

12. For anyone that wants to donate to your cause, how do they do that?
I don’t have an official way to raise funds on my own site, but I’m supporting the Canadian Pediatric Health Centre and that’s the group helping alll of the children, all across Canada. The money we’re raisinging is going towards their new database of kids with Cerebral Palsy and Autism across canada, so all of the hospitals doing research and treatment can now be in touch with each other to see what is working, and what isn’t. It’s going well! Go on and inform yourself! It’s a great organization!.

13. We asked our twitter followers if they could ask you any question, what they’d ask, so we have one from @JFMarcoux89, who is one of our regular readers from Montreal! He wants to know if the presence of young guys like Mikael Kingsbury makes you push harder, or are you slowly passing him the torch?
No – it makes me push harder! Kingsbury is no different than the rivalry I had with Dale Begg-Smith before the 2010 Olympics, or even the 2006 Olympics. Dale was the Olympic champion then, and I was aiming for a Gold there, also. Yeah, it’s different, because now he’s from Canada, so it’s great that Canada can have Gold and Silver medal potential at Sochi! It’s something I’m happy for, for the country, but for myself, I’m aiming for the Gold, and nothing less. Kingsbury is too! That’s something that is motivating for me to push myself every run, and obviously when it’s time to pass the torch, I’ll cheer for him, and be more than happy for him when he wins. For this year, it’s an individual sport, and I’m competing for myself, more than I’m competing for my country; It’s so much work we put into it – it’s a lifetime – and when you’re at that point, you need to think about your performance and nothing else.

14. Alex, thanks for joining us on, and good luck at the Olympics!
My pleasure thanks for the invite!


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