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Freestyle Skiing

Jenn Heil - Thursday Feb. 6, 2014 06:46

Dufour-Lapointe sisters plan to celebrate as a family

Talented trio of mogul skiers hope to share the podium

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The Dufour-Lapointe sisters celebrate graduation day. (provided by family)

For most Olympians, sport is a family affair.

It usually begins with mom and dad creating the initial spark of interest in the child, and soon manifests into a serious commitment to organized sport.

The three Dufour-Lapointe sisters were introduced to skiing because their parents, avid sailors, needed a winter sport. Pushing their daughters in the stroller all winter long was just too boring.

As a family it was just natural and normal for Maxime, Chloe, and Justine to participate in the same sport. But as the girls progressed quickly, it was inevitable that they would become competitors.

I’ve always wondered how the girls approach competition. Can there really be the same elation to standing on top of the podium when it means you have to beat your two sisters to get there?

Sisters first, competitors second

The girl’s mom, Johanne, admits that rivalry was always omnipresent. She clearly remembers driving home from competitions with the three girls in the car, and a range of emotions based on the outcome of the day. But in the same breath, she insists that it was never difficult because the girls always knew that they were sisters first and competitors second.

Perhaps learning how to compete with and against each other better equipped the Dufour-Lapointe sisters to successfully navigate the extreme world of high-performance sport. It is an environment in which the intensity of winning and losing can create all kinds of emotions and dynamics between teammates and competitors.

These dynamics can be powerful, and greatly affect performance. A healthy perspective of one’s self and the bigger picture are required to navigate competition most effectively.

Beating your own limits is the only thing celebrated in the Dufour-Lapointe household, according to Johanne. As a family, the focus is simply not on the medals – not even the world championship or world cup medals the sisters have won.

It’s about standing at the top of the mountain, with the clarity and energy that comes from knowing the competition is only about you and the mountain. No wonder all three sisters have succeeded in becoming Olympic teammates.

It is possible that Chloe and Justine will share the podium in Sochi. It is almost certain they will have more great personal performances to celebrate as a family.

Jennifer Heil is a two-time Olympic medallist in freestyle mogul skiing. She won gold in Turin in 2006 and silver in Vancouver in 2010.

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