Canadian sisters beat Kearney in moguls

The Sports NetworkFebruary 8, 2014 

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Justine and Chloe Dufour- Lapointe held hands before stepping onto the podium for the flower ceremony.

The Canadian sisters had just ended American Hannah Kearney's bid for Olympic history.

Justine, the youngest of three sisters who each made the women's moguls finals, won the gold medal Saturday after earning top scores on her turns and jumps at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

The 19-year old was awarded 22.44 points, .78 points more than 22-year-old sister Chloe.

Together, they kept Kearney from becoming the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion.

Kearney skied last, just as she did four years ago at Cypress Mountain outside Vancouver when she overtook 2006 gold medalist Jennifer Heil to win gold.

In position to knock another Canadian off the top podium, Kearney was more than a half-second faster down the hill than the younger Dufour-Lapointe, but lost points for her turns and wound up with the bronze, .17 points back of Chloe.

Kearney was a little loose during the same stretch in each of her final runs, after the first jump.

"I wanted that gold medal. And I skied great. But I made a few mistakes," she said. "And you don't win the Olympics when you make mistakes. I'm proud to contribute to the medals count for Team USA at the Olympics. But right now I'm very disappointed."

The Dufour-Lapointe medals were Canada's first gold and silver at the Sochi Olympics.

Kearney's win in 2010 denied the since-retired Heil the chance to win Canada's first Olympic gold on home soil, something Alexandre Bilodeau accomplished in the men's moguls the following night.

This year's three-round, knockout-style format for the 20 skiers who made the finals was new to the Olympics.

The field was whittled to 12, then six skiers, with scores resetting before each round.

Japan's Aiko Uemura, competing in her fifth Olympics at 34 years old, finished fourth by .83 points to miss out winning her first medal. Australia's Britteny Cox was fifth and American Eliza Outtrim finished sixth.

Canada's Audrey Robichaud was 10th and 24-year-old Maxime Dufour-Lapointe ended 12th, one spot ahead of American Heather McPhie.

Though she was competing in her third Olympics, Kearney had said it didn't feel like it until she looked at her bib before the first qualifying round on Thursday.

Now a veteran, she was the youngest-ever Olympic moguls competitor when she crashed out of the competition in a qualifying run as a 19-year-old in 2006.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe, who skied third-to-last in front of sister Chloe and Kearney, stood and screamed, then blew kisses when her score flashed and she saw she was guaranteed a medal.

The women were given flowers to hold as they stood on the podium at the bottom of the hill. Medals are awarded during a ceremony at a plaza in Sochi.

Kearney's bronze gave the U.S. two medals on the first full day of competition at the Sochi Games. Sage Kotsenburg won the men's snowboard slopestyle earlier Saturday.

"I'll have to treat this bronze medal as a reward for fighting," said Kearney.

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