Kragthorpe: Sochi’s Olympics celebrate siblings
Published: February 10, 2014 08:06AM
Updated: February 10, 2014 11:10PM
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Kurt Kragthorpe

Sochi, Russia

Three sisters from Canada occupied the chairs of a news conference dais as the clock turned to Sunday morning, still wearing their racing helmets and celebrating the family’s achievement in freestyle moguls skiing at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Only having all three of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Montreal stand together on the medals podium could have made the moment any sweeter. The 1-2 performance of Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe gave them a place in Olympic lore as the third pair of sisters to earn gold and silver medals in an individual event, with older sister Maxime finishing 12th.

The 2014 Olympics have become the Sibling Games, with a record seven families doubly represented on the U.S. team. The list includes Nordic combined athletes Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, who live in Park City. And the Olympic sisterhood convergence reached a new level Monday, when two sets of twins took the ice in the USA-Switzerland hockey game.

American forwards Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux skate on the same line, wearing Nos. 7 and 17, and are known to their coach as “the Lams.” They grew up in North Dakota with four older brothers who inspired their competitive natures, although the girls went against one another only in swimming.

So Jocelyn Lamoureux can relate to the Dufour-Lapointe sisters to some degree. “I’m sure they grew up in a competitive environment, so you want the best for each other, but you’re also trying to win,” she said. “If [Monique] was the one who beat me, then I didn’t really mind.”

That’s how it was Saturday night for the Dufour-Lapointes, as Justine, 19, and Chloe, 22, reversed their 1-2 finish from a World Cup event in Canada in mid-January. Maxime, who turned 25 on Sunday, inspired her sisters to try moguls skiing because she made it look fun, and now she’s the one trying to keep up.

Their parents have handled the intrafamily competition delicately, consulting a psychologist about how to respond when one child inevitably is happier than the others. “I have always told them they are like a triangle. All three angles have to be equal to have a stable triangle,” said their mother, Johane Dufour. “They are first and foremost sisters. Sometimes they fall out, but now they are mature enough to handle themselves.”

And they enjoyed the moment in Russia. Justine and Chloe hugged in the finish area and Maxime, who had missed the cut from 12 to six finalists, soon joined them as their mother exclaimed in French, “J’aime mes filles [I love my girls].”

Merely by competing in the same individual event, the Dufour-Lapointes became the third set of three sisters to do so in a Winter Olympics and the first such threesome since 1980.

In Monday’s hockey game, the Lamoureuxes — who played together in 2010 when the U.S. team earned the silver medal — opposed Switzerland’s Stefanie and Julia Marty, another set of twins. Jocelyn assisted on both of Monique’s goals in a 9-0 victory.

Amanda Kessel, who posted two goals and two assists for the Americans, hopes she and her brother, Phil, who plays for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, can win dual gold medals. U.S. figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani are the one pair of siblings that formed their own team, having competed together in ice dancing for 10 years.

The Fletcher brothers, who grew up in Colorado and moved to Park City to further their Nordic combined (ski jumping and cross-country skiing) careers, are together in the Olympics for the first time. In 2010, Bryan was injured and lost his spot on the team, which went to Taylor, who’s four years younger at 23.

They’re here now, hoping to help the U.S. team build on its historic performance in Nordic combined in Vancouver.

“Like any siblings, they’re at each other’s throats,” U.S. coach Dave Jarrett told TeamUSA.org. “But when someone gets at their throats, they’ve got each other’s back.”

2014 U.S. Olympic Team Siblings

Sadie/Erik Bjornsen • cross-country skiing

Erika/Craig Brown • curling

Bryan/Taylor Fletcher • Nordic combined

Arielle/Taylor Gold • snowboarding

Amanda/Phil Kessel • hockey

Monique/Jocelyn Lamoureux • hockey

Maia/Alex Shibutani • figure skating