All for one, one for all!
The youngest member of “3SDL”, as Canadian freestyle skiing sisters the Dufour-Lapointes are known, Justine achieved all her goals at Sochi 2014: taking part in an Olympic Winter Games with her older sisters, winning moguls gold, and sharing the podium with sister Chloé. Four years later in PyeongChang she was on the podium again, taking silver behind France’s Perrine Laffont.
The legend of 3SDL began long before their careers reached their peak. Maxime, the oldest, and Chloé, the middle sister, used to coach their youngest sibling on the slopes of Canada’s Mont Blanc in the Laurentians, not far from their home city of Montreal. Quebec is a traditional hotbed of free-style skiing, and like many Quebecois, the sisters’ main passion was for the moguls.
In order to convince the eight-year-old Justine to follow them down the slopes, Maxime and Chloé used to bribe her with chocolate! Their efforts paid off. Described by her mother Johane as “the essence of joie de vivre”, it was the youngest sibling who turned out to be the most gifted of the three.
Under the watchful gaze of their mother who also acts as their manager, the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters have always been inseparable. Maxime made her freestyle World Cup debut in 2007, Chloé in 2008 and Justine in 2010, when she was aged just 16. Since then they have travelled and competed together across the globe.
Things happened quickly for the youngest sister. In only her second World Cup competition, in Méribel (FRA) on 20 December 2010, she made the podium in the dual moguls. In her third, a month later, she took her first victory, also in dual moguls, and became the youngest ever winner of a freestyle World Cup event. In that same year Justine watched Chloé compete at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, a moment which inspired her to focus on making it to Sochi 2014.
The three Dufour-Lapointes set out to make history by all qualifying for the XXII Olympic Winter Games, and they duly achieved that goal in the 2013/14 winter season. By that stage it was Justine who was enjoying the greatest international success, racking up 24 World Cup podiums, seven victories in moguls and dual moguls and a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships in Voss Myrkdalen (NOR). However, in the last international event before Sochi, in Val St-Come (CAN), it was Chloé who took the victory, relegating her younger sister to second place as they secured a first-ever family double.
Triumph in Sochi
All three sisters took to the piste in the women’s moguls at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 8 February 2014, with their parents Yves and Johane watching from the stands. Though Maxime failed to make the cut for the final round, the family remained well represented, with Justine and Chloé featuring among the last six competitors.
Nineteen-year-old Justine rose to the occasion. Skiing quickly and fluidly, with knees glued together on the bumps and pulling off two huge, perfectly executed jumps, she conjured up a gold-medal winning performance. Chloé also skied a fine run to finish second. It meant that the two became the first female siblings to secure a gold-silver double at the Winter Games since France’s Christine and Marielle Goitschel in the slalom at Innsbruck 1964.
“What happened to us today is completely crazy!” exclaimed Justine afterwards. “I gave everything despite the pressure. We have grown up together, we have gone to the Olympics and we have succeeded together. We’ve made history!”
A 2015 world champion
The three sisters set up their own jewellery design company while continuing to pursue their sporting careers. Justine finished a runner-up in the World Cup moguls three seasons in a row between 2014 and 2016, bettered on the first two of those occasions by the USA’s Hannah Kearney and then by Chloé, before taking third place in the standings in 2017, by which time she had taken her total of career wins to 14 and top-three finishes to 43 in 84 starts.
Meanwhile, the youngest of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters won the world moguls title in Kreischberg (AUT) in 2015, where she also picked up a silver in the dual moguls. A World Championship bronze came her way in the moguls in Sierra Nevada (ESP) in 2017, which proved to be a difficult year for 3SDL, with their mother being struck down by serious illness.
Justine and Chloé went on to win a place on the Canada team for PyeongChang 2018, though Maxime missed out, having failed to make a full recovery from a hip operation. She nevertheless made the trip with her parents to the Republic of Korea to cheer her two siblings on.
A silver lining
In the first qualifying round of the moguls competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, which took place on the same day as the Opening Ceremony, Justine secured her place in the final. Chloé managed to negotiate a second qualifying round two days later, only to then be eliminated from the competition in Final 1, which ended with Justine in first place.
Flying the flag for her family, the defending Olympic champion finished fourth in Final 2 before nailing an excellent run in the six-rider Final 3. Reflecting on her performance immediately afterwards, she said: “I really gave everything I could. I put my heart and soul into it, the passion of my sport and my hunger. It’s the only thing that could fulfil me: my own personal satisfaction.”
She was ultimately denied a second consecutive gold in the event by France’s Perrine Laffont, who scored better in the turns and amassed 78.65 points to the Canadian’s 78.56. “I’m proud of this medal, which maybe even means a little bit more to me than the gold in Sochi,” said Justine, accentuating the positive. “I think I’ve worked even harder to make it here. I don’t have any reason to be disappointed and what I’m going to remember is that I climbed on to the podium with a smile on my lips.”