Cana­dian Du­four-La­pointes dream of Games re­peat . . . it all comes down to to­day


MONT-TREM­BLANT, QUE.— For years, the nar­ra­tive of the Du­four-Lapointe sis­ters has been one of sis­terly love and suc­cess on the slopes no mat­ter the odds.

All three of them went to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Two stepped on the podium with Jus­tine, the youngest of them all at 19, win­ning Canada’s first gold medal of those Games.

That story of sis­terly love hasn’t changed — “we com­plete each other,” says the el­dest Maxime — but their suc­cess rate on the slopes has dropped dra­mat­i­cally this sea­son.

And that means the story of the sib­lings from Mon­treal as a triple threat for next month’s Pyeongchang Olympics may well end here at Satur­day’s World Cup.

This is the last chance to make the Cana­dian moguls team, and Maxime — the one who got the fam­ily into moguls ski­ing in the first place — needs the re­sults of a life­time to make it. Even then she risks knock­ing sis­ter Chloe — the Sochi sil­ver medal­list — off the team un­less she too has great re­sults on Satur­day.

Right now, only Jus­tine, Andi Naude — Canada’s top fe­male moguls skier, ranked fourth in the world — and the ever-dom­i­nant Mikael Kings­bury on the men’s side are pre-qual­i­fied.

“We’re so strong to­gether.” JUS­TINE DUFOURLAPOINTE (PHOTO)

“Ev­ery­thing we do in life is about fam­ily. We need the fam­ily to go to these Games,” Chloe said af­ter train­ing runs. But she knows that hav­ing just two of them com­pet­ing in South Korea is look­ing like a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity.

“We’ve talked about it and it’s a pos­si­bil- ity, but that line is not yet set so we’re go­ing to go into this com­pe­ti­tion and ski like our lives de­pend on it.”

It’s been a tough year on the hill for them.

Maxime, 28, has been work­ing to get her con­fi­dence back af­ter hip surgery. Chloe, 26, and Jus­tine, 23, have been mak­ing ad­just­ments to their ski­ing and haven’t yet pulled it all to­gether to pro­duce the kind of runs they need to con­sis­tently hit the podium the way they used to. But it was even tougher at home. Last year ,their mother, Jo­hane Du­four, was bat­tling cancer, some­thing that they had not made pub­lic un­til ar­riv­ing at this World Cup. “It’s been a lit­tle rough,” Chloe said. “Our mom got cancer and we knew it last year dur­ing the sea­son, and it was pretty hard be­cause in our fam­ily we’ve never been touched by cancer be­fore. But now she’s fine.”

Chloe and Maxime both said it was im­por­tant to pub­licly share what had been go­ing on at home, as a way for them to move on and re­fo­cus on their ski­ing in time — they hope — for the Games.

“There have been some ups and downs, but I’ve been fight­ing all the way,” Maxime said of her re­turn to ski­ing af­ter surgery last April.

“For me, the best way to come back stronger and make it to the Olympics was to get the surgery, which I did . . . I’m back fully now ski­ing, but there were some parts of com­pet­ing that took a bit of time. It took a bit of time to find my inner com­peti­tor, let’s put it that way,” she said, laugh­ing,

She’s found it now and she’ll know by the end of Satur­day whether it’s enough. But fight­ing for what she wants is some­thing she’s had plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence with.

Their mom and dad Yves Lapointe raised a fam­ily of sailors, and those close-quar­ter trips are what forged the close bonds they main­tain to­day. But Maxime, drawn to the ex­cite­ment of jump­ing, started com­pet­ing in moguls when she was 10 and that was the be­gin­ning of the end for the fam­ily sail­ing trips.

Her sis­ters, see­ing the fun she was hav­ing, fol­lowed in her foot­steps and be­fore long the girls were trav­el­ling the world chas­ing snow and com­pet­ing.

But Jus­tine and Chloe, who came fifth at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Games when she was just 18, al­ways had more com­pet­i­tive suc­cess than Maxime.

So, when the sis­ters an­nounced they in­tended to com­pete to­gether in Sochi, ev­ery­one hoped for it but few thought it was re­ally pos­si­ble.

Maxime de­fied the odds then by chang­ing her en­tire ap­proach to ski­ing and, af­ter years on Canada’s sec­ond-tier team, she moved up to Canada’s top team.

Head­ing into the last Games, Jus­tine was ranked sec­ond, Chloe third, and Maxime had pulled her­self to fifth, her high­est world rank­ing ever.

Au­drey Ro­bichaud was the fourth skier to go to Sochi, where she fin­ished 10th, and she’s in the mix to make the team for the Pyeongchang Games.

One of the more mem­o­rable im­ages of 2014 Winter Games was Jus­tine and Chloe look­ing at each other and hold­ing hands as they stepped up onto the podium. Maxime, who had a small mis­take on her run, fin­ished 12th.

“I’m 12th in my first Olympics. There’s no dis­ap­point­ment. I’m go­ing home head up,” she said at the time.

Her view go­ing into Satur­day’s al­limpor­tant Cup event is sim­i­lar.

“The way I see it, I’m in Mon­tTrem­blant, it’s so good to be home and have all my fam­ily and friends cheer­ing for me,” she said.

“I’m go­ing to do it like I do in ev­ery other race. I’m go­ing to lay it out on the hill and do my best and look back with no re­grets.”

Jus­tine, who says she’s had the eas­i­est road in the sport since she’s fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of two sis­ters, is less philo­soph­i­cal about it.

“It’s hard, of course,” she said. “I’m hu­man, I love my sis­ters more than any­thing so I wish them the best. I want them to be a part of my dream and I want their dreams to ar­rive . . . It’s some­times painful be­cause you just want to help, but I can­not ski for them. It has to be from them. But I’m al­ways cheer­ing out there at the bottom and en­cour­ag­ing them af­ter a race.

“We’re so strong to­gether and I need them as much as they need me.”



In one of the feel-good mo­ments of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Cana­dian sis­ters Chloe, left, and Jus­tine Du­four-LaPointe shared the moguls podium.

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