Olympic Gold Medallist Alexandre Bilodeau To Study Full-Time at Concordia
Olympic Skiier Bilodeau Steps Off the Podium and Back into the Classroom
Alexandre Bilodeau was one of many seven-year-olds dreaming of winning an Olympic gold medal. Today, the freestyle skier is among the few to have realized that dream not once, but twice—all by the age of 26.
There won’t be a third time, however. When the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics roll around four years from now, Bilodeau hopes to have accomplished a new goal: graduating from university.
“I’ve become the best skier I could’ve ever been,” said Bilodeau at a press conference on Friday.
“Now it’s my time to turn to something else and prove to myself that I can do something else in life—not only be Alex, the skier, but be Alex, the person.”
Bilodeau captured Canada’s attention in the last two Winter Olympics. He won a gold medal in the men’s moguls freestyle skiing event at the Vancouver 2010 Games and defended his title in his final Olympics this past February in Sochi, becoming the first repeat champion in the event’s history.
All the while, Bilodeau was enrolled in Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, studying accountancy. Over the past four years Bilodeau usually took one class a semester, juggling his skiing competitions with assignments, projects and midterms.
In 2012, however, Bilodeau took a year off from skiing to train in Montreal and enrolled in three classes a semester at JMSB.
Returning to Concordia this past Friday for the first time since the Olympics, Bilodeau was given a hero’s welcome as he flaunted his gold medals from Sochi and Vancouver, signed autographs and took photos with fans, and fielded questions from reporters in a press conference.
During the conference, Bilodeau announced that he would be taking a full-time four-class course load at Concordia in the fall semester, with the goal of completing his bachelor’s and professional degrees in accounting within four years.
Bilodeau said he was grateful for the support he has received from his teachers and classmates, joking that they were all with him, in his head, atop the hill before his gold-medal winning run at Sochi.
“Nobody can pretend to win Olympic gold alone,” Bilodeau said.
“My school is part of who I am, it’s what I do [in my] everyday life along with skiing, so it’s great to share this with my fellows here.
“Without John Molson [School of Business] or Concordia people I would never have been able to do school and skiing, and probably I would’ve stopped skiing if I couldn’t have done both,” he continued.
Bilodeau said his celebrity status hasn’t garnered too much attention from students, signing the occasional autograph here and there, but says he enjoys seeing his classmates’ reaction when they eventually figure out who he is.
“In class, when I do group projects it takes a couple of meetings before they realize, and it’s actually fun,” he said.
The Montreal native has gone to numerous cities and countries to attend freestyle skiing competitions, causing him to miss out on classes and exams. He credited Concordia and his teachers for keeping him up to speed with his lessons while competing in skiing events around the world.
“I had great teachers that allowed me to see their notes on the road and to do the readings. If I had a question they were very helpful,” Bilodeau said.
“It’s been amazing, they’ve been very flexible. It’s a great school for that.”
Bilodeau reiterated numerous times during his press conference that he’s approaching his career goals with a four-year plan. In addition to working towards his degrees, he is fielding different internship opportunities from accounting firms, and has also considered the idea of being an entrepreneur.
“Like I did in skiing, I’ve learned from the best—[Canadian freestyle skier] Jennifer Heil was my mentor,” he said .
“I want to learn from the best in the accounting world, in the business world.
“For me having a professional degree and having my studies is a lot more important than just [starting] my own business right now, and I could do that,” he added.
“But I personally want to prove to myself that I’m good at it before I do something else.”
With his goals and vision set, Bilodeau will have to adjust to life as a full-time student at Concordia, but the freestyle skier appears to be up for the challenge.
“It’s going to be a huge change, but I’ve been having one goal since I was seven years old,” Bilodeau said.
“Now changing my goal, it’s something refreshing and I’ve been looking forward to it.”
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