GRAND FORKS—Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux sat on barstools on a stage in Ralph Engelstad Arena's lobby Thursday night, March 8. They were wearing their blue USA hockey jerseys with shiny Olympic gold medals around their necks.
With nearly 1,000 people packed into the arena's entrance—some seated, some standing, some hanging over a railing from suite level trying to get a glimpse of them—the twins were asked when it finally hit them that they had become the state's first Olympic gold medalists.
"I think it's starting to sink in right now, seeing so many familiar faces," said Jocelyne, who has spent the last two weeks in Los Angeles, Tampa, New York City and Washington, D.C., making national TV appearances on NHL Network, "Ellen" and the "Tonight Show." "To come here and share this with people who helped us get here is what matters most. We're grateful and lucky to bring this home and to be able share this with all of you."
It was a joyous homecoming for the Grand Forks natives, who recounted stories on how they became the state's first born-and-raised Olympic gold medalists.
With homemade signs from Grand Forks elementary school students lining the walls, the Lamoureux twins were introduced by their bantam hockey coach, Kelly Kilgore.
They were read statements from Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who proclaimed March 8 as Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux Day.
"Does this mean you get the day off from school?" Monique joked with the numerous youth hockey players in attendance—some of which chanted "U-S-A."
Then, they were interviewed by WDAZ's Taylor Brooks, who asked them to tell the crowd about the Olympic experience from traveling to South Korea to winning preliminary-round games to their starring roles in the gold-medal game.
Monique scored the game-tying goal late in the third period against Canada, and Jocelyne scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to win the gold.
Both recounted their plays. Monique expressed her surprise that she got a clean breakaway that late in the game, and Jocelyne said she was thankful that a shootout move she'd practiced for six years worked at the right time.
The Lamoureux twins said that everything they've done in the last two weeks has been exciting—the national TV shows, the U.S. soccer game, the NHL games, the NBA game, meeting Serena Williams and being invited to a movie premiere—they also said there's nothing like coming home.
When they arrived Wednesday, March 7, Jocelyne read a special newspaper section commemorating the Olympics that included three pages of letters to the editor from people in the community.
"I started crying," she said. "I couldn't keep it together."
The Lamoureux twins will be recognized again at Friday's UND men's hockey game, and they'll sign autographs for fans before the game.
Once again, they'll be sharing their achievement with the local fans.
"There were three states without a gold medal," Monique said. "Now, there are only two."