Freestyle: Golden day began far too early for Bilodeau

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:53am EST
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By Philip O'Connor

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Try as he might, Alex Bilodeau could not sleep past nine o'clock on the morning of the biggest day of his sporting life.

Whether it was jet lag, nerves or just because he is an early riser, the Canadian freestyle skier was left with 13 hours to fill until the contest that would define his Olympics.

"It was a long day," Bilodeau recalled in an interview with Reuters.

"We were trying to get up very late, but I'm somebody who wakes up at 6am at home. I'm not a big sleep-in guy, so I woke up at nine, trying to sleep as late as possible, and had a little nap from one to two."

Plenty of time then to contemplate the task ahead - the mogul champion's bid to become the first in his sport to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

Like all athletes, Bilodeau carries the scars of the many injuries he has suffered and the side-effects of anti-inflammatory medication he was taking for the most recent had a knock-on effect on his preparations.

"Because I was sick with a stomach problem that day, I took a lot of snacks," he said, enjoying the bright spring sunshine on the bridge over the Mzytma river in Rosa Khutor. "I didn't really eat meals, it was too hard on my stomach."

Bilodeau spent much of the waiting time on the physio's bench, getting treatment for back and shoulder problems that had been bothering him for the last few weeks.   Continued...

Gold medallist Alex Bilodeau of Canada poses during the medals ceremony for the men's freestyle skiing moguls competition at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov