February 15, 2010 / 8:57 PM / 8 years ago

Bilodeau settles Canada down in bid to own the podium

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - After an anxious start Canada is back on course to meet its objective of topping the Winter Olympics medal table, the head of the country’s Olympic association said on Monday.

<p>Canada's Alexandre Bilodeau, draped in his country's flag, celebrates after winning the Gold Medal in the men's freestyle skiing moguls finals on Cypress Mountain at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>

Moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau became the first Canadian to strike gold at a home Olympics, ending talk of a curse with his victory at Cypress Mountain on Sunday and laying the foundations for home athletes to “Own the Podium” as they pledged to do.

“We’re on track in terms of where we thought we would be,” Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Rudge told reporters.

”I‘m not so sure it’s as much of a relief as it unlocks the mystery of who was going to get it. There was much more focus on this in the media world than our own camp.

”We knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of who and when.

“It now frees all of you to focus on the broader issues, the human issues and everything else. So I‘m happy to see that done.”

Rudge said there was always room for improvement.

“We would have liked to see those fourth and fifth skiers on the podium but it was quite an effort,” he said.

“We have so many athletes who are not on the podium and not expected to be punching above their weight and if that carries on through the Games it’s going to manifest itself in some significant performances.”

Canada was fourth in the overall medals table heading into Day Three with one gold, one silver and one bronze.

The spotlight will now shift to which Canadian woman will be the first to claim gold on home snow but no individual will attract as much attention as the men’s ice hockey team with Canada set to begin their campaign against Norway on Tuesday.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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