Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 04:00 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today announced Olympic gold medalists and equity advocates Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson as the 45th and 46th recipients of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.

The Lamoureux twins, as they are commonly known, rose to national and international prominence as members of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. During the final women’s hockey game of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Lamoureux-Morando scored the game tying goal, and Lamoureux-Davidson scored the game-winning shootout goal to ultimately win the gold medal for Team USA against Canada.

In addition to their exceptional high school, college and professional hockey careers, the Lamoureux twins have become powerful advocates for equity, diversity and inclusion.

”From backyard hockey in Grand Forks to the world’s biggest stage, Monique and Jocelyne reached the pinnacle of women’s hockey and delivered two of the most exciting moments in our state’s sporting history, becoming the first North Dakota athletes to bring home Olympic gold and inspiring countless North Dakotans and young athletes everywhere with their incredible skill, competitiveness and sportsmanship,” Burgum said. “Off the ice, their dedication to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion and improving access for disadvantaged youth will have a lasting impact in North Dakota and beyond. For their exceptional representation of our state, both as individuals and teammates, they are wholly deserving of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.”

“Jocelyne and I are tremendously honored to be chosen as recipients of the Rough Rider Award,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “We are proud North Dakotans who were taught from a young age to work hard and be kind. Now, more than ever, do those words ring true. We hope to continue our advocacy for those who are less fortunate and to level the playing field so all kids have an opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Lifelong residents of Grand Forks, the Lamoureux twins were valued members of the University of North Dakota’s Women’s Hockey Team after transferring from the University of Minnesota in 2009. In 2010, the Lamoureux twins played in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, winning silver medals as members of U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. They again played on the silver medal-winning team in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Following the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Lamoureux twins became leaders in USA Women’s National Team members’ fight for fair and equal treatment by USA Hockey. Their efforts have focused on equitable treatment compared to the men’s hockey team, increased funding for girls’ youth hockey programs and more equitable training and marketing support for women’s hockey.

In 2018, the Lamoureux twins again played on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. During the final game, the U.S. team won the gold medal for the first time in 20 years over Canada. Crucial members of the team, the Lamoureux twins each contributed game-changing moments. Monique Lamoureux-Morando scored the game-tying goal, and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the game-winning shootout goal to ultimately win the gold medal for Team USA. In addition to the game-winning goal, Jocelyne scored two goals six seconds apart during the 2018 Olympic Games, setting the current Olympic record for shortest time between goals by any player, man or woman.

The Lamoureux twins have used their platform as gold medalists to continue promoting gender equity and increased access for disadvantaged youth. They formed the Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux Foundation in July 2019 to work with groups supporting disadvantaged children through education and extracurricular activities, primarily in North Dakota. The foundation is an extension of the sisters' hockey camps for girls and their work with cable and internet provider Comcast, where the twins promote such things as gender equity and internet access for low-income families.

“If this journey were only about winning medals and hockey games, our impact would have ended on the ice,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We have been blessed with a platform to make a difference beyond the rink. Monique and I are honored with the acknowledgment of this award that includes our impact beyond the scoreboard.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. Established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial, the award was initially given as an honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders.

At age 30, Lamoureux-Davidson is the second-youngest recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award and Lamoureux-Morando is the third-youngest recipient. The youngest recipient was Major League Baseball home run king Roger Maris at age 29.

The award will be presented later this year to Lamoureux-Morando and Lamoureux-Davidson in person at a date and location to be announced soon.