Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe took gold and silver in the women’s moguls at Rosa Khutor, ahead of reigning champion Hannah Kearney. In doing so the the Canadian siblings became the first sisters to occupy the top two steps of a Winter Olympic podium in half a century.
That feat was last achieved in 1964 when Christine and Marielle Goitschel of France completed a sibling double in the women’s slalom in Innsbruck. On that occasion it was the older of the pair, Christine, who took gold, but 50 years on, the younger sister prevailed. Justine, just 19, and current world number two, continued the remarkable Olympic record of Quebec skiers to top the podium, with 22-year old Chloé taking silver.
With a new elimination formula in place in Sochi 2014 for the moguls final, the initial run saw 20 skiers in action, with the top 12 going on to contest the second run, before the field was whittled down to six for the final run.
To add an extra element of excitement, times from the previous runs do not count, meaning the final six competitors went into the decisive run on an equal footing.
The Dufour-Lapointe family were denied the possibility of a unique one-two-three on the podium, when the oldest of the siblings, 24-year-old Maxime, wiped out on the second run, and ended up finishing 12th.
That left her two siblings to defend the family honour in the final six. In turn, both delivered wonderfully controlled performances, managing to maintain their speed and produce clinically executed kickers. Justine scored 22.44 points and 74.80% to edge ahead of Chloé (21.66, 72.20%).
The only skier capable of dislodging the Dufour-Lapointe sisters from the top two places was the world No 1 and reigning Olympic champion, Kearney, who was the last to race. However, the American incurred a fault at the start of her run that cost her dear, finishing her with a score of 21.49 points and 71.63%, and the bronze medal.
“It totally rocks”
The newly crowned champion was absolutely thrilled with her achievement: “It just totally rocks. It is just really amazing,” she beamed.
“Today I gave everything I had inside. I haven't eaten since 12 this morning. I really gave it my all. I felt the pressure, but I tried to just put that away and I said, ‘You know what, I'm going to roar and people will see me and remember who the real Justine is’.”
Before stepping up to receive their medals, the two sisters held hands and then embraced.
“Holding the hand of Chloé meant that I wasn't alone,” explained Justine. “I was there and couldn't imagine that I would step up on the first step of the podium.
“I was shocked, I saw Chloé and I felt calm again and took her hand, and thought to my-self: ‘Chloé, we'll live that moment together and it will feel more like home’.
I was shocked, I saw Chloé and I felt calm again and took her hand, and thought to my-self: ‘Chloé, we'll live that moment together and it will feel more like home’.Justine Dufour-Lapointe Canada
She went on to pay tribute to her predecessor as Olympic champion, Kearney: “I haven't beaten someone, I just won," said Justine.
“That means that I gave the best run and it was me, and my run won. But [Kearney] also gave an incredible show and gave it like all of us. She's an incredible lady and always will be.”
Meanwhile, Chloé Dufour-Lapointe had no regrets at having come home second behind her younger sibling.
“It meant a lot to be on the podium with my sister,” she said. “It happened before at the World Cup but here it's the Olympics, it's the big game, the big world, you have all the pressure of the world on you.”