Having the Grit to Take Risks with the Lamoureux Twins
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, twin sisters and Olympic gold medalists, are known as leaders on and off the ice. From their pivotal plays in the 2018 championship game that helped lead to the first Olympic gold medal for Team USA women’s hockey in nearly two decades, to their outspoken advocacy for women and girls in sport, these sisters are using the lessons of mental toughness, failing forward, and perseverance learned through sport to not only win on the ice, but also pursue what they believe is right off the ice.
Jocelyne explained, “If we were only worried about gold medals, I think our opportunities would be short-lived and our impact would be even shorter.”
Having grown up as the youngest siblings in a house with four older brothers, their childhood demanded grit and determination in every aspect of life. It was that foundation of healthy competition that encouraged the twins to be their best and strive for excellence all of the time.
“We were always so motivated from such a young age and I think that’s something that really set us apart from our peers growing up,” said Monique. “Working hard and always trying to put our best foot forward was something that our dad and our mom instilled in us. We always had to work hard and be at our best in order to keep up with our older brothers.”
With that hard work, both Jocelyne and Monique found success on the ice, but there were times when the twins faced self-doubt and moments that could have torn them apart, from each other and from the sport.
“In 2009, Jocelyne made a four nations team that I did not make,” said Monique. “That’s the only time in a national team setting that we have not made the team together. But it was never a question of: ‘Am I good enough to make the team?’ I could have allowed it to be extremely detrimental to my attitude or what I thought I could accomplish. But instead I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve just got to keep working at it. If she’s good enough, I’m good enough. I just have to be patient and the opportunities will come.’”
Jocelyne added, “That’s a true lesson in where confidence comes from and it comes from the day-in and day-out preparation of trying to win a gold medal. You can’t fake it in those moments. You’ve either put in the work or you haven’t. You have to be able to look within when things aren’t going well or you’re dealing with adversity.”
It’s that type of growth mindset that often separates an athlete from a leader who makes a difference beyond their sport. In 2017, the Lamoureux twins channeled their leadership to spearhead the women’s national hockey team’s fight for fair and equal treatment by USA Hockey.
Monique explains, “When we went through our gender equity battle with USA Hockey…during that time, our parents asked, ‘Well, what if you guys don’t come to an agreement and what if you lose your opportunity to make another Olympic team?’ The simple answer that we had was, ‘Well, I can go to bed at night and rest my head on my pillow knowing I did the right thing.’
It’s almost as simple as that when you’re looking at taking a risk. If you know that you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons, then you’re making the right decision. If you go in with that mindset, then I think it makes it easier to take that risk and that leap of faith.”
Taking risks for the greater good is something the Lamoureux twins plan to continue. Most recently, they started the Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux Foundation to support funding of educational and extracurricular programs for kids in need in their home state of North Dakota.
“For us, it’s always about what can we do to help the next generation coming through, so they don’t have the same struggles that we’ve had as a program,” said Monique, reflecting on their success negotiating with USA Hockey.
Jocelyne added, “We’re very proud to be part of the growth and that there’s more opportunities than we had growing up. Hopefully our advocacy for gender equity and our role with the contracts with USA Hockey has inspired more girls to get into the sport and has also created more opportunities and longevity for young women who want to pursue the sport beyond just youth levels.”