Sochi Olympics make history with family ties

Sochi Olympics

The Dufour-Lapointe sisters competed against each other in freestyle ski moguls at the Sochi Olympics. From left, Chloe, Maxime, and Justine. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Winter Olympics is definitely a family affair, what with dozens of sibling pairs competing together, against one another, or in the same discipline at various events in Sochi.

For instance, Switzerland has 11 of them, and the U.S. has seven.

But while sibling pairs at the Winter Olympics might be commonplace, the Sochi Olympics has the distinction of becoming the first Winter Games to feature three sets of three siblings competing against each other in the same individual event.

Sochi Olympics

Justine, left, and sister Chloe walk over the podium after receiving gold and silver medals, respectively, from freestyle ski moguls at the Sochi Olympics. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

How rare is that?

Well, considering it's only happened twice before (according to OlympStats), in 1960 and 1976, it's pretty rare.

Of course, with the growing number of events and competitors, it would stand to reason that there’s been an increase in a statistic like this, but that doesn't diminish the fact.

The most notable family threesome at the Sochi Olympics would be Canada's Dufour-Lapointe sisters, who competed against each other in the freestyle ski moguls. Justine won gold, Chloe took silver, and Maxime finished 12th.

Switzerland's Gasparin sisters each competed in the 15K individual biathlon. Selina won the gold, Elisa finished 33rd, and Aita finished 62nd. The three are scheduled to compete together in team relays during the second week of the Games.

And last are New Zealand's Wells brothers—Jossi, Byron, and Beau-James—who will be competing against each other in the freestyle ski halfpipe on Tuesday. Their brother Jackson, 16, didn't make the team, which is coached by their father.

Sochi Olympics

The Wells brothers from New Zealand will be competing against each other in freestyle ski halfpipe on Tuesday at the Sochi Olympics. From left, Beau-James; Jossi; their father, Bruce; and Byron. Photo by Doug Pensigner/Getty Images

And in case you're interested, the Team USA family members who are (or were) competing at the Sochi Olympics are Sadie and Erik Bjornsen (cross-country skiing), Erica and Craig Brown (curling), Taylor and Bryan Fletcher (ski jumping), Taylor and Arielle Gold (snowboarding), Amanda and Phil Kessel (ice hockey), Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux (ice hockey), and Alex and Maia Shibutani (figure skating).

Sochi Olympics

Taylor Gold, left, and sister Arielle competed in snowboard halfpipe at the Sochi Olympics, though this photo is from a World Cup event in December. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The first time three siblings competed against each other in the Winter Olympics was in alpine skiing women's slalom at Squaw Valley, California, in 1960. They were French sisters Anne-Marie, Marguerite, and Therese Leduc. The best finisher was Therese, who was fifth in women's combined.

Argentina's Marcos Luis, Martin Tomas, and Matias Jose Jerman competed against each other in 15K cross-country skiing in the Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1976. None made the top eight.

For other interesting family facts at the Winter Olympics, check out OlympStat.

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