The Best of the Olympic Twins | The Olympics On The Record

The Best of the Olympic Twins | The Olympics On The Record

If human cloning ever becomes
more than science fiction, there’s little doubt that
Olympians will be near the top of the list. Imagine a pool full of Spitz. Or Bolt taking on Bolt. It might seem like fantasy,
but I have a surprise for you. You’ve seen plenty of clones
at the Olympics already. In a cunning effort
to defeat science, nature gave us identical twins. And what’s better
than one great athlete? Two identical ones. For example, let’s have a look
at New Zealand sisters Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell. That’s Georgina at the back… or front. Whichever one is
Caroline, Georgina’s the other. They had won gold in
Athens 2004 and were hot favourites
to retain the title in Beijing. But they would be pushed
all the way in the final by German pair
Annekatrin Thiele and Christiane Huth, who aren’t even related,
let alone twins. It was the tightest of races
and, just like twins, the boats were impossible
to separate at the end. And it looks like
Germany has just a slight lead. Don’t be fooled by
the camera angle. This is desperately close.
It’s such a small margin. New Zealand are right there
with them. You can’t tell them apart. This is going to be really
tight at the end. They’re coming up to
the finish, and…who’s got it? This is going to be so close. It depends on who gets the stroke at the right time.
Who is it? They’re really tight. But after an agonising wait,
the judges announced that… the doppelgangers had done it, which is confusing because although doppelgangers
is a German word, it was the New Zealanders
who had won. After 2,000m, the boats
were separated by less than 5cm. But if you think twins
are dominant on the water, wait until we get in it. At Barcelona in 1992, both gold and silver in
the duet synchronised swimming went to sets of identical
twin sisters. You might think that
looking identical is probably the biggest challenge in
synchronised swimming. But, like most Olympic sports, it’s a lot harder than
it looks. Hold tight, because
at some point they actually get in the water, where these dance moves
do become a lot more complicated. You know, wearing these things
isn’t so bad. Yeah. Pinches a bit, though. Competitors have to match
each other’s movements while holding their breath
for incredibly long periods and remaining relatively
stationary. But American twins
Karen and Sarah Josephson had a habit of making it
all look very easy indeed. They were silver medallists at the 1988 Seoul Olympics
and hadn’t lost a single competition since,
making them red hot favourites. But the Canadians
were not to be outdone and they had their own
set of twins – Penny and Victoria Vilagos. So it was America versus
Canada, twins versus twins, eight arms, eight legs, four bodies, two faces. Who would win? The Josephson sisters
went first and delivered a superb
display of synchronisation. They blew the judges away, earning a near perfect
total score of 99.600 points. The Canadian pair followed. It was a thing of beauty. But beauty is always fleeting. Their 99.040 was good enough
to claim silver, and create one of the most bewildering podiums
you’ll ever see. Believe it or not,
pairs of twins had taken gold and silver at the same Olympic event
before. The other occasion
was in Moscow in 1980. This time, the twins were men
in the coxless pairs rowing. Defending champions were the Landvoigt twins
of East Germany, who had taken gold
in Montreal in 1976. Their closest rivals
at the Moscow Olympics were Russia’s Yuri and
Nikola Pimenov – also twins! The battle was an intense one but on their home stage, the Pimenovs’ efforts
were in vain and the Landvoigt twins
won again, continuing a record
so remarkable, you have to look twice
to believe it. Twins seemed to be the official
theme of the Moscow Olympics, because… It was hard to tell them apart
in the Olympic village. Anatoly is on the left
and Sergei is on the right… unless it’s the other way
around. But generally speaking,
it’s not important. Both the twin Bilohlazov
brothers made the finals in the
freestyle wrestling tournament. Anatoly is the older, born a quarter of an hour
earlier than Sergei. Luckily for the judges, they never faced off against
each other, differing weight categories
keeping them from meeting. The Bilohlazov brothers
won both golds – Sergei in
the bantamweight division… It’s Anatoly’s turn now. ..and Anatoly in the flyweight. For the first time in
freestyle wrestling history, twins became Olympic champions. Anatoly and Sergei,
Sergei and Anatoly – in general that isn’t
important. They are the twin
Bilohlazov brothers. Also in Moscow, sisters
Sonia Robertson and Sandy Chick played a key part in taking
Zimbabwe’s field hockey team to Olympic gold too. It’s not just Moscow, though.
It seems twins have a genetic predisposition
to winning Olympic medals. So it appears two is better
than one when going for Olympic glory.

12 Replies to “The Best of the Olympic Twins | The Olympics On The Record”

  1. Any other athletes here who love sports but are too lazy to get out of bed??? ???
    Hand = raised. ???(and I'm not sure if that's a waving emoji or a hand raising one but you get the point.)

  2. One of the reasons for twins being so successful might be because they try to beat each other and help them at the same time. I'm an identical twin myself and that's how it is with us. We are INCREDIBLY competitive now matter what and still always try to help the other out. It's like a lifelong rival that will only accelerate your growth.

  3. You forgot about the Tancheva twins from Bulgaria that won bronze at the rhythmic gymnastics group all around competition in Athens 2004, hopefully in 2020 we could the Averina twins competing in rhytmic gymnastics each one with 4 different routines 🙂

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