Mogul Olympians, the First and Last

1988 Olympic Games

Like most other sports mogul skiing is divided into male and female competitions.

The very first male winner of the Olympic gold for mogul skiing was Edgar Grospiron of France. He was a dedicated skier with reports stating that he made his first forays into the sport at as early as 18 months of age. He was one of the competitors during mogul’s first exhibition appearance in the 1988 Olympics and when 1992 rolled around with its medal status he took the gold. He won a silver at his next Olympics and after his third gold at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships he retired from the sport. He still kept his love of and connection to the sport though. He has acted as a commentator and expert on French television. Edgar has also shared his experience and advice with the French freestyle ski team.

Donna L. Weinbrecht of New Jersey was the first female winner of the mogul skiing Olympic gold. She started out as a figure skater but while she was a decent skater, her family couldn’t afford to continue her coaching. She switched to skiing and didn’t look back. A student at West Milford High School, she was a founding member of that institution’s first ski team. She would go on to attend art school but she couldn’t let go of skiing. She went back to the sport a couple years later and ranked in both national and world championships in addition to her Olympic feats.

Having looked back at the first Olympians we should now look at the most recent. The 2014 Olympics saw Alexandre Bilodeau of Quebec take home his second gold medal for mogul skiing. He started in hockey and his fortuitous switch to skiing came about partially because his mother was tired of driving her three children from rink to rink. The other impetus behind the change was a young Bilodeau’s viewing of the 1994 Olympic Games and Jean-Luc-Brassard’s performance on the mogul course. His World Cup debut came at the age of 18 and he went on to become the youngest competitor to win the mogul section if that competition a short time later. After winning two Olympic golds, multiple world championships, and having an impressive string of World Cup wins, Bilodeau retired from competitive skiing at the age of 27.

Canada had a good showing in Sochi. Another Canadian, Justine Dufour-Lapointe, took the gold in the women’s moguls. Also from Quebec, Justine was much newer to competition and Sochi was her first Olympic bid. She started her competitive career with the 2010-2011 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup. There she made records by being the youngest woman to ever win a moguls event. She was 16. Her performance at the World Championships shows her continued progress. 2013 saw her win a bronze in moguls, two years later at that same event she won gold in moguls and silver in dual moguls. She has two older sisters who also ski so it will be interesting to see how she and her family progress and perform in the field.