Justine Dufour-Lapointe’s Olympic silver in Pyeongchang feels like gold

Justine Dufour-Lapointe, of Montreal, celebrates her silver medal win. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

PYEONCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — Justine Dufour-Lapointe was anything but disappointed after losing her Olympic moguls title Sunday at the Pyeongchang Winter Games..

On the contrary, she believes her silver medal is worth more than the gold she won at the ’14 Sochi Games.

In the middle of a snowstorm, the youngest of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters made a quick and aggressive run to earn 78.56 points in the super-final. France’s Perrine Laffont captured the gold with 78.65 points.

Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva won the bronze with 77.40 points.

"I feel like I’ve given everything I could," said the emotional 23-year-old Canadian. "I gave my heart, my fire and the passion for my sport.

"I skied like a real tigress."

The nine-hundredths gap that separated her from a second consecutive gold medal — which would’ve tied Dufour-Lapointe with Alexandre Bilodeau as the only ones to have successfully defended an Olympic moguls title (2010-2014) — didn’t seem to bother her.

In fact, the presence of her mother at the base of the slope was a victory in itself since only a year ago, Johane Dufour-Lapointe was sharing her cancer diagnosis with her daughters.

She is currently in remission, and will undergo a new series of tests upon her return home.

"I’m prouder of this medal than gold in Sochi, because I worked even harder to get there," Justine Dufour-Lapointe said. "This was one of the most difficult years of my life, so no, I don’t want to be disappointed.

"This silver medal is worth more than that, it’s gold for me."

The competition was especially difficult considering the heavy snow, which worsened as the evening progressed. As a result of the reduced visibility, super-final organizers decided to add a tree to the track to help participants find their bearings.

Regina’s Andi Naude, who was considered a medal hopeful, missed the landing of her first jump and did not complete her run.

Justine’s sister, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, was eliminated in the first final after finishing 17th out of 20. Only the top-12 reached the small final.

Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City finished ninth overall.

A visibly emotional Chloe Dufour-Lapointe recognized she was "emptied" both physically and emotionally by the events of the past year, and suggested she may take some time off.

"It’s been a difficult year, and I’m a girl who’s very emotional in life," the 26-year-old said. "I need a little mental break. I need to think of myself in order to come back stronger.

"You know, making ‘comebacks’ every time isn’t easy, but I’m the ‘resets’ pro," she added with a laugh.

She said she hadn’t decided yet if she would end her season and would discuss the matter with her trainers in the following days.

"But I’m a person of feelings, and my feelings tell me I need to go home," she said.

Far from being disappointed in her performance, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe said she was touched by the love showed by her family Sunday night.

"I’m really proud of my sister," she said. "It’s a family medal, one we didn’t even think about a year ago.

"But everyone is here, healthy, and that’s the best gift in the world."

Back in the crowd, her parents and family members, including older moguls-skiing sister Maxime, lacked the words to express their pride.

"Tonight was a relief," said Johane, who is also the agent for her daughters. "Given the last year when I was seriously ill, I realized how much my daughters have been affected by this.

"The two of them (Justine and Chloe) said to me: ‘Mom, I gave everything, I have no more juice, I’m empty.’ I’m glad it’s over."

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