Alexandre Bilodeau is back home less than a week after taking the Olympic gold in men’s freestyle moguls skiing in Sochi, Russia.
Bilodeau was greeted by his fiancée, his trainer and friends at Montreal’s Pierre Ellliott Trudeau International Airport on Sunday evening.
The meaning of his gold medal — his second in two Olympics and a new Olympic record in men’s freestyle moguls — has yet to sink in, he told reporters.
Last Monday, Bilodeau stole the show at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park from fellow Quebecer Mikaël Kingsbury, who won silver. The feat repeated earlier gold- and silver-medal performances by Canadian sisters Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe in women’s moguls.
The Sochi Games will be Bilodeau’s last as a competitor and cap an Olympic career that goes back to the Turin Games in 2006, where he placed 11th.
His gold-medal performance in moguls at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver marked the first Olympic gold for a Canadian athlete on Canadian soil.
Bilodeau said he can retire with a sense of accomplishment.
“I just let my skis do the talking and those 23 seconds summed up four years of training,” he said.
Bilodeau’s gold medal performance was just as memorable for what happened next, when the skier immediately went to embrace his brother, Frédéric. The Olympian highlighted yet again on Sunday the daily inspiration that he finds in his older brother, who has cerebral palsy.
Bilodeau said he hopes to return to the next winter Olympics as a television commentator.