Laffont wins women’s moguls gold for France
France’s Perrine Laffont held her nerve to clinch gold in the women’s moguls final at Phoenix Snow Park on Sunday 11 February, and in doing so helped France to a first medal at PyeongChang 2018.
Laffont was among the favourites in PyeongChang, and she out-performed Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who claimed silver.
The 19-year-old Laffont registered a quick time of 29.36 and tackled the bumps in style. Showing great technique with her knees, she also enjoyed two beautiful jumps to secure gold.
Tight at the top
Reigning champion Dufour-Lapointe enjoyed an excellent run but finished in 29.54, and her total points tally of 78.56 was 0.09 points behind the champion. The 23-year-old is the eighth woman to win more than one Olympic medal in this event. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva snatched bronze, Kazakhstan’s first ever medal in freestyle skiing, with a time of 30.14 in the final race to finish on 77.40 points.
Canada’s Andi Naude had the chance to claim glory on the final run but slid off the piste and did not finish.
Embracing the moment
“I was just having fun,” said Laffont of having to complete her final run immediately after her Canadian rival. “I told myself, 'Perrine, you're at the Olympic Winter Games, in the finals, so just enjoy the moment and do your best'. That's all.”
Laffont admits she did not believe she had the energy to compete in the women’s moguls final, let alone win it, before delivering her gold medal-winning performance.
“I absolutely don't know how I did it because I was so, so tired,” she said. “I was at the top of the course and I was like, 'I can't do this, I can't do this’. I was thinking about my family here at the course and now, here I am, Olympic champion.
Laffont was the youngest competitor at Sochi 2014, aged 15, and the first Frenchwoman to enter the competition. She believes her experience four years ago, where she ranked 14th, helped her cope better with the demands of competing at the highest level.
“It helped a lot,” she explained. “It helped with the pressure and all the things around it, like the media, the publicity and everything.”
Laffont now joins compatriot Sandra Laoura, who won bronze at Turin 2006, as one of two French women to have won a medal at an Olympic Winter Games.