Moments after middle daughter Chloe gave a tearful speech about how much her parents meant to their daughters, Johane Dufour — the mother of the suddenly world-famous Dufour-Lapointe sisters — waved her arms towards her girls and said: “Look at how beautiful they are. Look at these wonderful girls.”
Yes, look at them.
But even more, look at this family. And listen. Listen to Chloe speak about the love she and her sisters, Olympic moguls champion Justine and oldest daughter Maxime, have for their parents, Johane and Yves, and how much of their success, both as athletes and women, they owe to their parents, and how much Justine’s gold and Chloe’s silver medals are the result of the sacrifices their parents made.
“They are our most loyal fans and we wouldn’t be here without them,” said Chloe, breaking down in tears. “From when we were very young, they surrounded us with love. My parents kept telling us that we would make it. And we couldn’t let them down. And we were bound to end up here.”
Chloe spoke about how they would camp out in Lake Placid, N.Y. in the summertime so she could train for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and how, at day’s end, her dad would make the family homemade soup, and they’d all sit down together as a family and eat. A simple sentiment, but beautiful. She spoke of the family selling their beloved boat, which they used to sail on Lake Champlain on summer weekends, so she and her sisters could spend more time focusing on moguls.
Yves spoke of how his wife, who holds three university degrees, gave up her career so the girls would have a rock at home.
And Johane recalled telling her girls they were a triangle “and all the angles should be equal to make a stable triangle.”
There was so much love inside Chekhov Hall in Sochi’s main press centre on Sunday that even some members of the media found themselves fighting back tears.
This is a family that, from the time the Dufour-Lapointe sisters were babies, spent as much time together as possible. When they’re travelling on the World Cup circuit, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters room together. This is about as close a family as one could imagine, and you could see that at a day-after media conference organized so Justine and Chloe could talk about their 1-2 finish in the Olympic moguls competition.
Yves, an electrical engineer, was asked about the sacrifices he and his wife made over the years for their daughters.
“You ask me, ‘What was our sacrifice?’” he said. “Really there were no sacrifices. It’s all about choices. It was a question of believing in a dream and believing in what the girls were telling us.”
“That was our choice. To be close to them and to watch every single moment when they had success or pain,” added Johane. “When we’re old, and we don’t have any more money, we will be happy now to sit in a rocking chair, in a 2 1/2-room apartment. But right now, those babies, these little girls, these little teenagers, need us.”
For Johane and Yves, the weeks leading up to the Sochi Olympics were difficult. The girls were away training, and they hardly had a chance to speak to them. So when Justine and Chloe roared down the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course Saturday (oldest sister Maxime failed to make it into the final), their parents were almost unable to contain themselves — the family’s long journey coming to an almost-unthinkable climax.
“I just wanted to see my babies,” Johane said when asked what her thoughts were when Justine and Chloe won their medals.
The sisters’ world is bound to change. But one thing is clear. As a family, they’ll never drift apart. When asked about where they go from here, Justine, in all her teenage exuberance, said they were going to establish a clothing line for young girls who want to train hard and look good.
“We love fashion, we’re addicted to clothing and makeup and hair. We’re not just athletes, we’re girls too,” she said with a laugh. “This is the start of a new chapter for all of us.”
Added Chloe: “Yes, and three is a very beautiful number.”
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