Inspirational Olympian Bilodeau

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Anna Mantooth writes, One of the lasting images of the Vancouver Olympics for me will be freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau pumping his fist t…

One of the lasting images of the Vancouver Olympics for me will be freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau pumping his fist to the crowd at Cypress Mountain after he won Canada’s first gold medal on home soil. Alexandre, 22, calls his big brother his inspiration. Ferderic, Alexandre’s big brother, 28 was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 1- and doctors told him he would lose his ability to walk. Although he spends most of his time in a wheelchair, Ferderic still walks and skis. His brother has helped him keep things in perspective all these years, during which he was stung by an 11th- place finish at the Turin Olympics in 2006. “Even if it’s raining, I’ll take it, I’ll go train,” Bilodeau said. “He doesn’t have that chance, and he’s having a smile every morning he wakes up.” During the final of the men’s moguls, cameras showed Frederic cheering enthusiastically for his brother, jumping out of his seat and waving his arms in the air as soon as Alexandre crossed the line at the end of his gold medal run. True to form, Alexandre and fellow Canadian Jennifer Heil are both donating $25,000 to charity. They are doing this because they feel it is their responsibility to try to make a difference. They are hoping other medalists will do the same. I admire Alexandre and Frederic’s close relationship. Personally, I think that Frederic’s disability has not driven them apart, but only brought them closer together.