Canadian makes Olympic history with gold medal and is awarded a timepiece by greatest Olympian of all time.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games have been characterized by compelling stories but there is one which will remain in the hearts of Canadians and winter sports fans around the world for a long, long time.
The Olympic Games are being contested in Canada for the third time but until February 14, no Canadian athlete had ever won an Olympic gold medal on home soil. That changed dramatically when Alex Bilodeau was proclaimed Olympic champion in the freestyle skiing men's moguls competition in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd at Cypress Mountain.
Leading the cheering spectators was Bilodeau's brother, Frederic whom Alex describes as his idol. Frederic has cerebral palsy and Alex has said that his brother's courage, cheerfulness and optimism in dealing with the illness have been a constant source of inspiration to him. "We are very proud to support Alex here in Vancouver and congratulate him on his outstanding performance," said OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart. "For him to win a gold medal in his homeland is a part of Olympic history and we are thrilled to provide him with the gift of time to enjoy it"."
The greatest Olympian honours Canada's Olympic hero
On Thursday Bilodeau visited the OMEGA Boutique at the Hotel Vancouver Fairmont where he signed the guestbook and was presented with an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean wristwatch to commemorate his emotional, historic achievement. On hand to make the presentation was the most successful Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.
Phelps, who has been an ambassador for the brand since 2004 said, "Alex’s performance was amazing – I watched his race. I have no idea what it would feel like to win an Olympic gold medal in my own country but he delivered under so much pressure. And the fact that his brother and family were there cheering him on made it really special. "
Bilodeau said, "I feel very fortunate to be honoured in this manner by Omega and especially to have this generous gift presented by one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time. It was a real thrill to meet Michael Phelps."
Before the presentation of the watch, Phelps and Bilodeau posed for photographers in OMEGA’s sleek red bobsleigh in front of the Official Countdown Clock with Stephen Urquhart.
Alex Bilodeau: one of the world's best moguls athletes
Bilodeau was hardly an unknown before his gold medal performance: he competed at the Torino 2006 Olympic Games and has won 22 World Cup medals. In 2006, he was named FIS Rookie of the Year in moguls and he was the youngest skier to win gold at a World Cup event.
In order to win the gold medal, Bilodeau needed to outperform Canadian-born Dale Begg-Smith, the defending gold medallist, who skis for Australia.
OMEGA and the Olympic Games
At the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games OMEGA is serving as Official Olympic Timekeeper for the 24th time. The brand's relationship with the International Olympic Committee started at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games. In September 2009 OMEGA and the IOC extended their association through 2020.
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