Monday, February 15, 2010

Courage Of Brothers

Whenever Alexandre Bilodeau had a tough time during training, he'd think of his older brother Frédéric, 28, who was born with cerebral palsy and whom doctors said wouldn't walk after the age of 10.

The older Bilodeau proved them wrong and not only walks but skis, taking on some of the toughest slopes at St. Sauveur, Que., not far from the family home near Montreal.

"I never heard him once in my life complain about his condition - never," Mr. Bilodeau told reporters shortly before the Games.

"He accepts it and he's done his best with it."

He added that "as an athlete you always have good days and bad days, there's so many days you just don't want to go train. I realize that I have the opportunity [to train] and that I need to use that opportunity because my brother does not have that chance."

Sunday night Frédéric was at Cypress, watching his brother win the first Canada's first gold medal of the 2010 Olympics.

Frédéric "doesn't have that chance to be an athlete and go to the Olympics, but for sure if he did he would take the opportunity and do as much as he could with it."

Mr. Bilodeau lists his brother and Canadian freestyle ski legend Jean-Luc BrassardJean-Luc Brassard, as heroes on his resume posted on the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association's website.

He got into the sport after being left spellbound watching Brassard win the gold medal at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer.

When Alexandre won his first World Cup in 2006 at Mont Gabriel, Que., the first thing he said was he got to share it with Frédéric.

"He was on the podium with me," Mr. Bilodeau said.

During his record season in 2009, Alexandre took his brother to La Plange, France, for the final World Cup of the season, so the could share the season ending championship together.

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