When Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau took home the second gold medal of his career on Monday night in Sochi, he celebrated with a brotherly embrace that warmed hearts the world over.
Bilodeau s brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, gripped him tight as the two jumped up and down in celebration after Alex, 26, became the first athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in moguls, having also won the event in 2010 in Vancouver. Alex dedicated his gold medal to Frederic, who has served as his inspiration throughout his career.
[Frederic said] the same thing he said to me in Turino and Vancouver; he loves me, Alextold Matt Lauer on TODAY Tuesday. He says, I love you Alex. That s the first thing he tells me. He s so proud. He lives his dreams through my eyes and for me it s priceless to see that, to see his eyes just so big and so proud.
He s worked hard. He s encouraged me. He s always been with me through those four years, working hard. He s a big part of that.
The images of Alex and Frederic celebrating have quickly become some of the most evocative from Sochi, and Frederic has become a mini-celebrity in his own right. Lauer asked Alex if Frederic's popularity may one day eclipse his own.
I wish that day would come, Bilodeau said. That s something for me, I don t need the spotlight. I have all the resources to work and have it. But he doesn t have it, and we need to give [it to] him.
Bilodeau put together a nearly flawless run in the finals for a score of 26.31 amid the warm temperatures and slushy conditions at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
I did the best run I could have done on that course,'' he told Lauer. Everything that I ve been working on for the last four years fell into place at the right moment. I have the right team around me to make sure that happened, and it did work out.
It also happened to be the capper to Bilodeau's career; after it, he told Global News afterward that he plans to retire after Sochi and focus on a career in accounting.