I am way behind with my posting and I am sorry for that. I go back in time now, to a lovely day. The 15th of February which began leisurely enough but soon turned into the current best day ever (or at least the best day ever, until tomorrow!).
A press conference is being held at the Robson Media Centre featuring Alexandre Bilodeau. I do not want to miss this opportunity. I have seen his profile piece on CTV numerous times and talk in the media room is that young Mr.Bilodeau is exactly as nice and humble as you would hope him to be.
Joey, loving access to the media centre wants to come along so off we go. We arrive just as the press conference is getting underway. Bilodeau talks about the conditions at Cypress, the Own the Podium program, his brother and his musical preferences. For those who would like to know, here is what helps Bilodeau and what motivates his performance.
For starters Bilodeau called the conditions at Cypress “really good.” Given the slack Canada has been taking in the foreign media for a myriad of glitches, it is refreshing to have an athlete speak out favourably for a venue. Bilodeau did say that the APEX training camp, held this past November, had “perfect conditions” but that Cypress made a “great impression” on the competitors.
Own the Podium is a Canadian iniatiative I have written about previously. This program has been set up to support Canadian athletes in an unprecedented manner. Through OTP, Bilodeau talked about the increase in coaching (they had an air coach for the first time), training, physiotherapy, access to a sports psychologist and biomechanical assessment, feedback and support. Bilodeau also spoke fondly about “Data Boy.” Data Boy’s real name is Allan and he works as an analyst for the team, assessing every move of every run. Through his assessments and, with the support of coaching, athletes have been able to trim seconds off their runs.
Alexandre Bilodeau’s brother, Frederic, is becoming almost as famous Alexandre. Bilodeau spoke about the spirit and determination Frederic has shown throughout his lifetime, beating many predictions concerning his life with Cerebral Palsy. Alexandre and Frederic are as close as two brothers can be and, during the press conference, when Alexandre announce the gold medal he won was “really Frederic’s medal. This is all for Frederic.” well, I got very teary and respectful of the bond the brothers share.
It was a great press conference and Alexandre Bilodeau is a lovely and humble young man. BC Premier, Gordon Campbell thanks Bilodeau for his hard work and determination. Campbell’s voice, hoarse from the supportive screaming for Bilodeau the night before states “Canada could not have had a better first gold medallist.” I do believe Mr. Campbell!
I leave the press conference and settle in at a workspace in the media centre. Later on we will be heading to Molson Canadian Hockey House. We have been given VIP passes as it is The Globe and Mail Ladies’ Night. We are not sure what to expect but are greatly looking forward to the event.
6:00 pm – We have VIP tickets for Molson Canadian Hockey House. The Globe and Mail is hosting Ladies Night and we have been invited to enjoy the festivities. We are also told both the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief want to meet John Fearnall and I. Yikes!
We enter the venue to the dulcet tones of comedian Sean Cullen wailing out the Styx classic ‘Come Sail Away’. Sean Cullen wailing out the Styx classic ‘Come Sail Away’. He is being being backed by The Odds, a terrific band out of Vancouver who were off the radar for 8 years but made a return to the music scene last year. Cullen’s first guest is singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman. John, Stacey and I are all fans and excited to see Workman. He and Cullen settle themselves into to a couple of lounge chairs and begin a good nature banter. I am hoping for an acoustic song or two, but sadly, Workman leaves the stage without playing for the crowd. He leaves me with the impression of being a thoughtful, funny and intelligent man. I am glad to get to know just a bit of his personality.
Next up is Ed Robertson, lead singer for The Barenaked Ladies. Ed comes out with his guitar and he a Cullen launch into a hilarious improvised spoof of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown”.