Day 3 saw the Olympic party hit a high note for the hosts, as Canada secured its first ever Olympic gold medal on home soil, thanks to Alex Bilodeau’s heroics on the moguls of Cypress Mountain.
“With Glowing Hearts” was the motto for Vancouver 2010, so it seemed appropriate that Canada’s first gold medal of the Games – and their first ever Olympic gold on home soil – came on St Valentine’s Day. As sweethearts across the world lovingly exchanged cards and gifts, freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau delivered the perfect present for the host nation as he secured gold in the men’s moguls on Cypress Mountain.
After failing to top the podium at the Montreal Games in 1976 and the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, Canada was desperate to end their host nation jinx and, after narrowly missing out in the women’s moguls event the previous night – where Jenn Heil finished second – it was left to Bilodeau to write his name into the history books.
His faultless run in the final prompted an eruption of cheers from the passionate crowd on Cypress Mountain as the 22-year-old was catapulted into first place. It was a reaction that was echoed all across Vancouver, as enthusiastic supporters packed into bars and crowded around big screens at the city’s numerous fan parks. And when France’s Guilbaut Colas – the final competitor – was unable to better Bilodeau’s score, the celebrations could really begin, as the country was finally able to toast its first ever gold on home soil. “I had it, I took it and now I belong to history,” said Bilodeau afterwards.