Freestyle Skiing

Malcolm Kelly - Saturday Feb. 8, 2014 19:29 ET

Dufour-Lapointe sisters: Day 1 Newsmaker

Gold and silver in women's moguls tops the list

Dufour-Lapointe sisters hold hands
Silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe and gold medalist Justine Dufour-Lapointe hold hands during the flower ceremony for the women's moguls on Saturday. (Mike Ehrman/Getty Images)
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Margaret Mead would have loved the Dufour-Lapointes.

The famed anthropologist once observed that sisters probably have the most competitive relationship in any family, but “once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”

It would be hard for anyone to argue the point on Saturday night if they had seen Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe fall into each other’s arms when favoured American Hannah Kearney, the defending champion, failed to pass either of them, leaving the Montreal siblings with gold and silver in the women’s moguls event.

Justine, the youngest of the Olympic trio at 19, then bounded into the finish area, screamed and twirled, before running over to where eldest sister Maxime was standing behind a barrier (having finished 12th) and gave her a sisterly squeeze.

What a day for the red and white in Krashnaya Polyana, a name that in English means Red/Beautiful Glade.

Perfect.

As viewers understood, by voting the win Story of the Day with 72 per cent support. Mark McMorris, who took a bronze in snowboard slopestyle earlier on Saturday, had 22 per cent of the votes.

Maxime, a beaming big sister at 24 years old, later watched her sisters holding hands on the podium as they received their flowers in advance of Sunday’s medal ceremony down the mountain in Sochi. She was filled with pride.

“I knew they were looking for this result, and it’s just amazing,” she said. “I’m just lucky I’m living in the same house because I can learn from the best in the world.”

A gold and silver from Justine and Chloe makes now three successful sister acts in Winter Games history, starting with Christine and Marielle Goitschel of France, who did it twice in 1964 in the slalom and giant slalom, and Doris and Angelika Neuner, of Austria, in luge, back in 1992.

Three sets of brothers have also done it: Jack and Jennison Heaton of the U.S. in skeleton back in 1928, Phil and Steve Mahre, also of the U.S., in slalom in 1984, and Phillipp and Simon Schoch, the Swiss snowboarders, in 2006.

Started with a step

The Olympic Games are filled with stories about “the journey,” but this one truly did start with one step – taken on a bunny hill by Maxime. The eldest sister was first to dive into the world of freestyle skiing, followed by Chloe, now 22, and then Justine.

All started at just three years old, encouraged by mom Johane Dufour and dad Yves Lapointe. They haunted the hills in the Laurentians each weekend.

“The path we walked,” said Maxime, “we did this side by side.”

The Dufour-Lapointes became regulars on the circuits, but it was Chloe who broke through as an Olympian first, finishing fifth in moguls at Vancouver in 2010.

Over the past two seasons, Justine came to the fore, sitting second on the World Cup circuit for 2013-2014 behind the legendary Kearney, with Chloe not far behind. When all three sisters made the Olympic team, it cemented a legend that can join the hockey Sutters, the goaltending Drydens and lacrosse Gait’s among Canada’s sports first families.

Justine had said before the Games that her dream had been to go to the Olympics in a red Canadian jacket. She will come back with a gold accoutrement for it.

Chloe’s is silver.

Maxime’s is a rainbow of peacock-proud colours as she celebrates her sisters and the strength of their relationship.

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