Chloé Dufour-Lapointe places 9th in Olympic moguls after sister, teammate crash out

The scorecard from Sunday night's Beijing Olympic moguls competition read two DNF (did not finish) and a missed podium for a trio of Canadian women.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Sofiane Gagnon fall early in final; Jakara Anthony wins gold

Justine Dufour-Lapointe reacts after crashing in the opener of Sunday night's three-round Olympic women's moguls final in Zhangjiakou, China. Canadian teammate Sofiane Gagnon also crashed out. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The scorecard from Sunday night's Beijing Olympic moguls competition read two DNF (did not finish) and a missed podium for a trio of Canadian women.

First, 2014 champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe's quest to become a three-time Winter Games medallist came to a halt when the Montreal resident struggled on the first mogul following her takeoff on the top air and crashed to open a three-round final at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China.

Sofiane Gagnon, making her Olympic debut, followed in the next round when the freestyle skier from Whistler, B.C., fell after her pole got stuck between a mogul and her ski.

That left Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic silver medallist and lone Canadian remaining in the field, to refocus attention on the competition on a cold evening. Aiming to improve on a 17th-place Olympic performance four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, she was eliminated in the second round and finished ninth overall.

[On] bad days like this, the only thing that is important is to never give up ... to keep skiing, even though it was painful.— Canadian freestyle skier Justine Dufour-Lapointe

Chloé said she intended to compete in the final World Cup of the season. As for returning to the Olympics one more time?

"I think I put a really nice bow on these Olympics," she said.

A determined Justine, after waving for her coach at the top of the course to get her a new pole, looked up to the sky in disappointment, shook her head and finished the run.

"I have to finish this Olympic dream on my two feet," Dufour-Lapointe later told CBC's Ali Chiasson while fighting back tears. "[On] bad days like this, the only thing that is important is to never give up.

WATCH | Dufour-Lapointe falls in middle section of finals run:

Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashes out of moguls competition

6 months ago
Duration 2:57
The 2014 Olympic champion lost control during her run in Final 1 at Beijing 2022.

"Today, that was my only choice — to stay up and keep skiing, even though it was painful. Life is not always so easy but I just want to make sure everyone [watching] at home knows that I never give up. I fight those past four years so hard, was willing to take risk and ski with fire and dignity.

Mum on 2026 Olympics

"It's not an easy [moment]," added Justine, "but I'm going to keep smiling through it."

When asked if this would be her final Olympics, a teary-eyed Justine closed her eyes, wiped them and looked into the distance.

"It's hard to tell right now but it will be another discussion, for sure," she said, before blowing a kiss to her Canadian fans.

After the crash, Justine and Chloe talked and shared a hug.

"I had to cry, I had to let it out. Thank you everyone at home. I love you so much. I always felt all your support and you were here until the end," a teary-eyed Justine added, placing her right hand on her heart.

WATCH | Chloé Dufour-Lapointe comforts Justine after sister's crash:

Justine Dufour-Lapointe embraced by sister Chloé after devastating crash in women's moguls final

6 months ago
Duration 1:41
Heading into the moguls final looking for a medal, Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashed, ending her chances at reaching the podium for the third straight Olympics. After her run, sister and fellow moguls skier Chloé Dufour-Lapointe embraced and consoled her younger sister.

Added Chloé: "I totally felt her heart break. I just wanted to be there for her and let her know that she must be proud of herself even though sometimes you don't see it right away. It was important for me to hug her and live this moment together."

Justine told the CBC she is grateful to have Cholé and her other sister, Maxime, in China to remind her of her strength. A 2014 Olympian, Maxime is at the Games mentoring some Canadian athletes. She retired in 2018 with four World Cup podiums and three world championship appearances to pursue a dream of becoming a doctor.

"It means the world [that my sisters are here]. It feels like a blessing because tonight is not easy. It's really not easy to get through those emotions," said Justine.

Justine, who also won Olympic silver in 2018 and has two top-10 finishes this season on the World Cup circuit, had advanced directly to Sunday's final by securing the 10th and final spot in the opening qualification round on Thursday.

But the four-time world medallist soon became a spectator, cheering on Chloé and Gagnon, both of whom advanced to the final 12. Earlier, Gagnon scored 75.63 to lead the field in the second round of qualification while Chloé (73.60) grabbed the last qualifying spot ahead of Japan's Junko Hoshino.

"I think that I got a little bit too rushed in my movement and I think that cost me a little bit of balance," said Gagnon of her crash.

'I'm already hungry for more'

The 22-year-old Gagnon rebounded strongly after finishing 14th in Thursday's first qualification round. She has two top-10 World Cup finishes this season after a fourth-place effort in dual moguls at the 2021 world championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

She said her first Olympics taught her a lot and confirmed she can perform on sports' biggest stage.

"It definitely motivates me," Gagnon said. "I'm already hungry for more, I already want to start training for 2026. I couldn't be more ready to keep progressing and to keep working."

WATCH | Gagnon's solid Olympic debut ends with crash:

Canadian Gagnon crashes during moguls' finals

6 months ago
Duration 2:14
Sofiane Gagnon fell during her attempt to qualify for the super final after a strong showing earlier in the day at Beijing 2022.

Australia's Jakara Anthony made her coach Steve Desovich look like a genius when she earned 83.09 points in Sunday's super final — supported by a back flip with a grab at the bottom — to capture the gold medal. Desovich had earlier predicted the 23-year-old would return home with gold or silver.

"I was just so happy with that and content with that and no matter what the outcome was, I was going to be stoked," Anthony said. "To see the No. 1 come up next my name, it was incredible."

Before Sunday, Anthony had delivered the best-ever Olympic result by an Australian female moguls skier with her fourth-place finish in 2018, and has only missed one World Cup podium this season.

American Jaelin Kauf (80.28) finished behind Anthony in Sunday's event while Russia's Anastasia Smirnova (77.72) rounded out the medal podium. It was a spectacular bounce-back Olympic performance for Kauf, who entered the 2018 Pyeongchang Games as the top-ranked moguls skier only to finish seventh.

France's Perrine Laffont, who became the youngest Olympic freestyle champion at age 19 in 2018, placed fourth with 77.36 points. She hadn't tasted defeat in three years entering this season and missed the podium twice before arriving in Beijing.

Anri Kawamura, the 17-year-old from Japan who sits atop the World Cup standings this season on the strength of three victories, was also considered a serious contender for gold but finished fifth (77.12).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Canadian Press and Associated Press

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now