Chloé Dufour-Lapointe had hoped she’d feel no pressure standing in the start gate at her fourth and final Olympic Games, only the pure bliss of being there.
Six months after becoming the first Canadian freestyle skier to compete in four Olympics, the 30-year-old from Montreal is retiring. And she said her Olympic finale in Beijing was exactly what she wanted.
“For me, it was a dream night,” Dufour-Lapointe said. “When I went into this [four-year] cycle, the Olympic cycle, I was having a picture of myself . . . how I wanted to feel up there, how I wanted to ski, and I’m really proud of that, that on that night, it was exactly what I pictured.”
Dufour-Lapointe won silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics behind sister Justine. The image of the sisters holding hands on the medal podium was one of the most memorable of those Games.
After a disappointing 17th finish at the 2018 Games that made her question her desire and enjoyment, she qualified for the final in Beijing, finishing ninth. She missed the podium, but still loved every moment.
“I wanted to do my best job, and I wanted to allow myself to be free on the course, and remove the stress that sometimes can be overwhelming. And for sure I didn’t want to do what I did in 2018. I wanted to be like at my first Olympics , just having fun,” Dufour-Lapointe said. “And it should always be like that.
“And I [had] pictured me doing my cork, the jump that I worked on for four years, to make it work and to feel comfortable. I was on top of the course and I didn’t have any stress. I was just like, ‘Just do it, just go for what you been working for.’ And I just did it.”
Dufour-Lapointe debuted on the World Cup circuit in 2007 and was the first of the three sisters – Maxime is her other sister – to join the national team. She climbed the World Cup podium 27 times. She capped an excellent 2015-16 season by winning the Crystal Globe for the overall World Cup title.
“Although we are sad to see her leave the competitive side of our sport she will indelibly be etched in our memories, not only with what she achieved in her remarkable career but more importantly through her fighting spirit,” said Freestyle Canada chief executive officer Peter Judge. “Throughout her storied career, Chloé has defined herself as a tough competitor who truly came alive in of the heat of competition.”
She has more FIS starts in freestyle skiing moguls (186) than any other Canadian athlete, as well as the most FIS starts in singles moguls (127). She shares the record for the most World Cup starts with Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau (142).
She said the flood of satisfaction she feels after mastering a treacherous moguls run is what she’ll miss most.
“The feeling of achievement when you’re scared to do the trick, or the course seems so icy . . . but when you land the trick and you realize it was not that hard, those feelings will always be inside me,” Dufour-Lapointe said. “This is the part that I will miss of my sport, pushing yourself to the limit where sometimes, some days, it goes super well. Other days can be hard, but those moments you learn about yourself.”
Dufour-Lapointe will continue her studies in fashion and management at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She also has several projects in the works, including Tissees Serre, a winter clothing company she founded alongside her sisters.
She’s also interested in mentoring young athletes, the way two-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Heil mentored her when she was new to the national team.
“Jennifer Heil was my idol, so when the 2014 [Olympic season] came, it was an honour to work with her, to know her better and share experiences,” she said. “So, this is something that I would love to do.”
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, the oldest of the three sisters, retired in 2018.