Vancouver Moguls champ finds inspiration in brother

Leave a comment

One of the lasting images of the Vancouver Games happened February 14th, when Alexandre Bilodeau won the men’s moguls to become the first Canadian to earn gold home soil, ending a disappointing distinction from the 1976 Montreal and the 1988 Calgary Games. His win ignited a gold medal spree for the hosts – 14 in total – the most by any host nation in Olympic Winter Games history.

Yet despite his place in Canadian sporting lore and praise from his countrymen, including a phone call from the Prime Minister that night, Bilodeau shrugs at the suggestion of his legacy. “It was definitely really special to be seen as a Canadian hero,” the Montreal native explains. “But I don’t really feel that way.” What was truly memorable to Bilodeau was being able to share the experience with his brother, Frederic, who was watching that night from the bottom of the hill.

Frederic, six years older than Alexandre, has cerebral palsy and has long been a source of inspiration for his brother. The two have been close throughout their lives and Alexandre has made it a priority to share his experiences with Frederic. “He lives the dream through me and my sister,” Alexandre says. “So we try to make him a part of it as much as we can… It’s priceless to see his reaction.”

Alexandre has helped raise money for cerebral palsy research in Canada through the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres, and, a few days after his gold medal-winning run, Bilodeau personally donated $25,000 and called on his sponsors to do the same. Bilodeau estimates that through donations and fundraising events, they’ve raised around $500,000, halfway to his goal of $1 million.

After a year away from skiing to heal some nagging injuries, Bilodeau is back on the bumps this season, displaying the form that earned him gold in Vancouver. He’s ranked second in the World Cup standings and won the dual moguls last weekend at Deer Valley. But Bilodeau says his priority this season is to prepare for Sochi, where he hopes to defend his gold and have another experience he can share with his brother.

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

Getty Images
1 Comment

Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future