With Alex Bilodeau’s freestyle moguls win Sunday, Canada claimed its first gold medal as an Olympic host country, deflating the main media storyline of Games coverage north of the border.
Much more satisfying though was the bizarre circumstance of the man who may well have had his gold stolen in the event. A circumstance that made Bilodeau’s triumph infinitely more interesting and enjoyable.
The VANCOUVER PROVINCE sets the scene, reporting Dale Begg-Smith as the heavy favorite going into the event:
Begg-Smith very nearly froze the hearts of an entire nation. The self-made Internet millionaire arrived in Vancouver last week as the undisputed favourite to grace the top of the podium on Cypress Mountain. After all, he collected four gold medals and two silvers on the World Cup circuit this season.
Begg-Smith stood poised to become the first Canadian-born athlete to ever win gold on home soil. Only for Australia.
1) Remember the last time your computer became infected and/or crashed? There’s a decent chance that Begg-Smith might’ve had something to do with it. The same Olympic skier who won gold in Torino is also notorious for unleashing spyware on countless millions of unsuspecting internet users across the globe. ZDNet.com chronicled his despicable activities, which made Begg-Smith a fortune, in 2006.
2) Begg-Smith, who was born in Vancouver, left the Canadian ski team in 2001 “over philosophical differences.” He competed for Australia on Sunday.
So let’s reset. Going into Begg-Smith’s event on Sunday, Canada had never won a gold medal while hosting an Olympics. Begg-Smith, who was born in Vancouver, is the heavy favorite but competing for Australia. To top it off, Begg-Smith is one of the most reviled figures in the history of the internet.
Now that’s a storyline folks.
Aftermath of Begg-Smith losing the gold from the Province:
An Australian sport official accused judges of awarding inflated scores to Canadian Alex Bilodeau Sunday, allowing him to edge out Dale Begg-Smith for gold in men’s moguls.
“My own opinion is that probably Alex is not capable of a 4.8 or a 4.9 [on his turns], because five is a perfect score,” Geoff Lipshut, the team’s high-performance director, told Queensland’s Courier-Mail.
“Dale had the highest turn points and the highest air points,” he told the newspaper. “Dale skied unbelievable and I don’t think you can fault anything he did. I thought Dale won, but that’s just a gut feel.”
Bilodeau gave Canada its first gold medal on home soil with a score of 26.75, .17 points better than Begg-Smith.
Now that’s a happy ending. Especially the part about Begg-Smith’s Geek Squad sponsorship stipulation on winning the gold.
Okay. I made that last part up.