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Letter: An inspiring story for athletes across nation

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter by Gov. Doug Burgum is one of several that will be published in the Herald's special section dedicated to the USA women's hockey team. The section, titled "Gold Rush," will be inserted into the Sunday edition of the Herald.

By Gov. Doug Burgum

In a lightly populated state like North Dakota, homegrown athletes who reach the upper echelons of their sports become household names.

Roger Maris, Darin Erstad, Jim Kleinsasser and Carson Wentz, Phil Jackson, Virgil Hill, Phil Hansen, Rick Helling and Travis Hafner.

And now, the Lamoureux twins.

With a flick of the wrist and a jaw-dropping deke, Grand Forks natives Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson cemented their place in North Dakota athletics lore, becoming the first North Dakota-born competitors to win Olympic gold.

The twins were already inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. But it was their gold medal-winning moves that chiseled their names and beaming smiles into our state's collective memory.

The pride experienced by so many of us who stayed up late that night, leaping from our sofas when Monique tied the game and Jocelyne sealed the shootout, was surpassed only by the love the Lamoureux twins so obviously carried for their hometown, their home state and their home country.

It's the kind of story that inspires young athletes from across North Dakota and the nation — especially youth hockey players who no doubt laced up their skates, grabbed their sticks and pucks and headed to the nearest outdoor rink that next morning to start practicing the "Oops, I did it again" move made famous by Jocelyne.

That their breathtaking victory came against our friendly neighbors and trading partners to the north is satisfying, but we know the Canadian team will be back with a vengeance in four years. Will it be Bismarck's Britta Curl, already a gold medal winner this year with the U.S. Women's National 18 and Under Hockey Team, who emerges as the hero for Team USA in Beijing in 2022? One can dream.

But the Lamoureux twins certainly have paved the way. The exceptional trail these North Dakota born-and-raised Olympians blazed in Pyeongchang left an indelible mark on our minds and hearts, and for that we are incredibly grateful. We thank them for their outstanding representation of Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota, our entire state and the United States of America.

To North Dakota's very own Golden Girls: Congratulations, and welcome home.

Doug Burgum is in his first term as governor of North Dakota.

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