Burgers, Cheeseburgers and stuff… Yes a website about Burgers.

Olympic Hero Wins Gold, Hits Golden Arches

By • Feb 17th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

(photo: Getty Images)

“Congratulations, Alexandre Bilodeau… you just won the first-ever Canadian gold medal on native soil!  What are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to… McDonald’s?!?

That’s exactly what he did. The 22-year-old freestyle skier from Montreal torched the moguls course this past Sunday night to win the gold.  As Bob Costas & Co. had been telling us every 8 seconds since the Opening Ceremonies of these Winter Olympic Games, Canada had never won a gold medal in its homeland.  Bilodeau changed that with an unlikely upset over the sport’s defending champ, a Vancouver native who now competes for Australia.  This shot of Bilodeau doing his thing comes from the AP:

His gold medal moment catapulted Bilodeau into The Great White North’s national spotlight, instantly making him the most famous Canadian since… since… um… somebody help me out here.  Alan Thicke?  Michael J. Fox??  Rush??? Almost immediately after winning the moguls competition, The Royal Canadian Mint and Canada Post reportedly announced the release of commemorative gold medal coins and postage stamps.  And then Bilodeau did what any newly-crowned national hero does: he went out for a cheeseburger.

It was early Monday morning by the time Bilodeau wrapped up his press conference, interviews, and photo ops and made his way over to the Mickey D’s located inside the main Olympic media center.  The staff gave him a “rousing” welcome as the gold medalist entered the almost-empty restaurant.  “A few stragglers” from The Canadian Press were on hand to snap this pic of Bilodeau getting his grub:

To quote the liner notes from the 1992 debut album by Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies, “Coincidence?  No, calculated image construction.”

Bilodeau, you see, has been sponsored by the fast food giant for 4 years, after joining the McDonald’s Olympic Hopefuls program, and has been featured in a number of Olympic-themed ads for the chain.  And the late-night Big Mac Attack wasn’t even Bilodeau’s idea. The burgermeisters at McDonald’s were the ones to approach the skier about visiting the Golden Arches to meet the restaurant workers, according to Louis Payette, national spokesperson for McDonald’s Canada.  He told the Toronto Star, “It was kind of spur of the moment, hours after he wins gold… he came down and really was so generous with his time and sharing with our crew, sharing the moment.  Those kids were so proud.”

The tray of food seen in The Canadian Press photo was just a prop, it seems, handed back to the restaurant staff after the publicity shots were taken.  (Nice job of leaning the French fries against the burger box just so.  Somebody really should’ve turned that bottle of Coke around, though, to show the logo.)  But before Bilodeau left, the crew did hand him his own Big Mac to go.

Loyal readers know how I feel about this iconic sandwich.  I understand that Bilodeau was doing a good turn by granting his major corporate sponsor a drop-in, and offering him a free Big Mac was the very least that the staff could do.  But the dude just won a friggin’ gold medal, the first ever won by a Canadian on Canadian soil!!  I hope he used some of that new-found cachet to get himself a decent burger.

Leave a Reply