So much talent, one family: Canadian Olympic siblings
For some parents, having one child compete at the Olympic Games is a rarity. But others have had the joy of watching two (or three!) children represent their country.
So whether they competed against each other in the same event, competed as a duo, or were in completely different sports, here’s a look at some of the talent that just has something in their blood.
Canada’s triple threat in women’s moguls, Justine, Chloé and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe were all together at Sochi 2014. After Chloé competed solo at Vancouver 2010, finishing in fifth place, four years later Justine and Chloé finished 1-2, respectively, becoming just the third set of sisters to ever win gold and silver in the same Winter Olympic event.
Justine and Chloé were back on the Olympic team at PyeongChang 2018 where they were cheered on by Maxime. There’s no doubt the Montreal trio shares a special bond. They even organize a camp for young female moguls skiers in Quebec called 3SDL, as in 3 Sisters Dufour-Lapointe.
Plouffe twin sisters
Twins Michelle and Katherine Plouffe were members of the women’s basketball team at Toronto 2015 and Rio 2016 after Michelle had made the team alone at London 2012. Hailing from Edmonton, the twins have a Pan American Games gold medal under their belt. In true twin fashion, both Katherine and Michelle currently play professionally in France (but not on the same team).
Short track speed skaters Charles and younger brother François Hamelin have had plenty of Olympic success. From Lévis, Quebec, both brothers captured the gold medal at Vancouver 2010 in the men’s 5000m relay alongside teammates François-Louis Tremblay, Olivier Jean and Guillaume Bastille.
Although both brothers competed at Sochi 2014, it was Charles who added another gold medal to his collection in the 1500m. They were named to the Olympic team again for PyeongChang 2018 where Charles won his fifth career Olympic medal with a bronze in the 5000m relay.
Curling brothers Ryan and E.J. Harnden have been teammates since 2007. The next year they joined forces with their cousin and skip Brad Jacobs. In 2012, Ryan Fry came on board and at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, E.J. (second) and Ryan (lead) formed the front end of the team that captured the gold medal.
The elder, Chandra, participated in cross-country skiing in three Olympic Winter Games, her first being Turin 2006 when she won gold in the sprint. Rosanna, a biathlete, helped Canada to its best ever finish in the women’s relay in Sochi, placing eighth. Rosanna also competed at PyeongChang 2018, but this time without her sister.
Kristina and Lenny Valjas may both be Olympians, but their choices of sport could not be more different. Kristina, a beach volleyball player, competed at Rio 2016 alongside teammate Jamie Broder. Together, the pair finished ninth overall. Kristina’s younger brother, cross-country skier Lenny, competed at the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and PyeongChang.
Marielle Thompson went to PyeongChang 2018 as the reigning Olympic champion in women’s ski cross, even though a knee injury had kept her out of competition for the entire season leading up to the Games. This time, she had her younger brother Broderick joining her on the Olympic team, though he competed in alpine skiing.
Freestyle skiers and brothers Vincent and Philippe Marquis each participated in the men’s moguls event at the Olympics, but not at the same time. Vincent, the elder of the two, just missed the podium at Vancouver 2010, finishing in fourth place behind victorious Canadian teammate Alex Bilodeau.
The younger Marquis made his Olympic debut four years later at Sochi 2014, finishing ninth. Philippe then wrote a remarkable story at PyeongChang 2018 where he advanced to the final despite competing with a torn ACL in his knee.
Gregg and Wotherspoon siblings
Long track speed skater Jamie Gregg and his sister, short track speed skater Jessica, each competed in their individual events on home ice at Vancouver 2010. Jessica helped the women’s 3000m relay capture silver while Jamie finished eighth in the men’s 500m. Among the favourite Olympic memories? Walking into the Opening Ceremony together.
They were both back on the team at Sochi 2014, where they were joined Gregg’s wife Danielle, also a long track speed skater and the younger sister of 1998 Olympic silver medallist Jeremy Wotherspoon, one of the greatest sprinters ever on the big oval.
Vilagos twin sisters
Twins Vicky and Penny Vilagos earned themselves an Olympic medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The artistic swimmers captured the silver medal in the women’s duet event, behind American twins Sarah Josephson and Karen Josephson. Nearly a decade earlier, they seized two medals at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, gold in the team event and silver in the duet.
Firth twin sisters
Sharon and Shirley Firth were members of Canada’s first ever women’s Olympic cross-country skiing team. The twins competed in a total of four Olympic Games: Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976, Lake Placid 1980 and Sarajevo 1984. Together, they placed seventh in the women’s 4x5km relay in Innsbruck, their best ever finish at an Olympic Games. Sharon and Shirley were also the first female Indigenous athletes to represent Canada at the Winter Games. The twin sisters added to their resumé when they were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Hugues and Émilie Fournel were each other’s biggest supporters as they followed in the footsteps of their late Olympian father Jean to paddle their way to London 2012 and Rio 2016 together. It was elder sibling Émilie who got to the Games first, competing at Beijing 2008, which made Hugues realize that it was possible to live up to their father’s legacy.
Swimming sisters Brittany and Heather MacLean made their Olympic debuts together at London 2012. Brittany went on to win bronze with the 4x200m freestyle relay at Rio 2016 while Heather went to school and became a registered nurse. Specializing in labour and delivery, she — like so many other medical professionals — ended up on the front lines of the pandemic , but has been able to persevere with the support of her teammate for life.
— Heather MacLean (@hmacswim) April 22, 2020