In With the Gold After Canada’s first home gold slipped through moguls skier Jennifer Heil’s fingers to Hannah Kearney, Alexandre Bilodeau delivered for his country and his brother By Eric Williams “It’s gonna happen,” thought Hannah Kearney. And it did.
The Olympic moguls events at Cypress Mountain were a tale of two
nights. The first — the women’s competition — brought a startling upset for
the more than 8,000 rain-soaked Canada fans (including Prime Minister
Stephen Harper) who braved the wet, windy conditions for four hours in
hopes they would witness golden girl Jennifer Heil defend her Torino gold
and secure the first Canadian Olympic victory on home soil. Instead, they
saw American Hannah Kearney on top of the podium.
The second day of moguls competition featured beautiful, clear skies and
a surprising result from Canadian underdog Alexandre Bilodeau. He surpassed heavily favored rivals Guilbaut Colas of France and Dale Begg-Smith
of Australia to break the curse that had afflicted more than 500 Canadian
Olympians through two Games.
Women’s Moguls, Feb. 13
After her hometown of Spruce Grove, Alberta, named a street for her last
fall, Heil went on a World Cup winning streak with four victories to take
solid lead in the overall standings — even after skipping the last contest to
concentrate on the Games. Perhaps more convincing for Heil’s case was the
fact that she had edged out Vermont’s Kearney on the same Cypress slope at
last season’s Olympic dress rehearsal. Kearney, last season’s overall World
Cup titleholder and two-time winner this season, was eager to forget the
disappointment of the Torino 2006 Games, where she missed the finals with
her 22nd-place qualifying result.