The Dufour-Lapointe sisters all have a spot in the women’s moguls finals at the Sochi Olympics.
Defending champion Hannah Kearney of the United States cruised through qualifying on Thursday, posting a score of 23.05, well clear of Montreal’s Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (22.64) for the top spot.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe (22.28) took third and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (20.88) finished eighth, assuring all three sisters a spot in the finals.
All three sisters declined to speak to the media after qualifying to concentrate on preparing for Saturday’s final.
Quebec City’s Audrey Robichaud also qualified, placing ninth with a score of 20.61.
It’s a return to Olympic competition for Robichaud, who qualified for the 2006 Turin Olympics at age 17 before missing out on the 2010 Vancouver Games.
She nearly missed out on these Games due to a knee injury that sidelined her for part of the season.
“I really made a lot of progress, but the fact that I had not skied in competition last month worried me a little,” Robichaud said. “It feels good to be back.”
Kearney, the defending Olympic champion, posted the second-fastest time down the hill and highlighted it with a pair of well executed if not quite perfect jumps that allayed any concerns about the course’s safety.
“I think that everywhere we go, every World Cup venue, we show up and say, ‘Oh, my god. How are we going to make it down this course? This is impossible,“’ Kearney said.
After some tweaking by officials, the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains looked no different than most other moguls events over the last four years, with the top-ranked Kearney looking down at the rest of the field.
“The course is great,” she said. “It’s challenging but in a very positive way. It’s going to separate the weak skiers from the strong skiers, hopefully.”
The top 10 skiers earned an automatic berth into the finals, with the remaining competitors returning for a second qualifying run on Saturday. The top 20 qualifiers make the finals, which will be held in three stages as the field is whittled down to 12 then six before a champion is crowned.
— With files from The Associated Press.
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