ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Canadian teenager Justine Dufour-Lapointe roared when it mattered most to claim a shock gold medal and lead her sister Chloe to a family one-two in the moguls freestyle skiing final at the Olympic Games on Saturday.
The sister-act stunned overwhelming favorite Hannah Kearney in the third run of the final under the bright lights at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park to leave the tearful defending champion with a bronze.
They were the third pair of sisters to win gold and silver in the same event at a Winter Olympics. The others were Christine and Marielle Goitschel of France in 1964 and Doris and Angelika Neuner of Austria in 1992.
“It just totally rocks. It is just really amazing,” Justine, 19, said.
”Today I gave everything I had inside. I haven’t eaten since 12 this morning.
“I really gave it my all. I felt the pressure, but I tried to just put that away and I said, ‘You know what, I‘m going to roar and people will see me and remember who the real Justine is’.”
Hopes of a family podium sweep had disappeared when the third sibling, Maxime, went out after the second run of the final but her sisters would not be denied in the final six-woman showdown.
Teenager Justine slapped her skis on the snow four times before going down the slope third and capping a clean run with a perfect back flip to take the lead with a score of 22.44.
Chloe came next, exhorted by her coach to “Attack, Attack Attack”, but her landing after the second kicker was less than perfect and she tallied 21.66, only good enough for second place.
With two medals for the family guaranteed, all eyes were now on Kearney, who was hoping to become the first freestyle skier to win back-to-back Olympic golds.
The 27-year-old, who had topped the leaderboard after qualifying and the second run of the final, botched the landing after her first jump and was unable to recover sufficiently to score better than 21.49.
“I feel like I let myself down,” said an emotional Kearney, who has dominated the event since winning gold in Vancouver.
“I wanted that gold medal and I skied for it but I made a huge mistake and you can’t win at the Olympic Games when you make a mistake.”
When Kearney’s score flashed up on the big screen, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters shrieked and embraced, their cries of joy echoed by their proud parents watching on.
“It feels amazing,” said Chloe, 22. “It happened at the World Cup, but now it’s at the Olympics. We had to do three runs and we did it together. We’re just really happy.”
There was also disappointment for Japan’s 34-year-old Aiko Uemura, who was competing in her fifth Olympics but narrowly missed out on a medal by finishing fourth for the second Games in a row.
Editing by Ed Osmond ad Clare Lovell