7 Pairs of Siblings Ready to Dominate the Summer Olympics
It’s not uncommon for two siblings to excel at the same sport growing up, and for some select few that excellence can translate into Olympic success.
The first time two brothers both won gold medals was in 1896 when Americans John and Sumner Paine led the way in military pistol and free pistol shooting events. In 1908, British siblings William and Lottie Dod became the first-ever brother and sister to both receive medals at the Olympics, doing it in archery. Since then, many other pairs have competed in the gala. Here’s a look ahead at the seven American sibling duos that have qualified for London this summer, and a look back at some other recent ones who made mom and dad proud:
venus and serena WILLIAMS
They’re the world’s most famous swinging sisters, and Venus and Serena are back this summer. Venus won the women’s singles gold in 2000, and the pair took home the doubles titles in 2000 and in 2008. This year they’ll again play separately and also team up. Wimbledon gave them a good chance to wow the British crowd as Serena took home the singles title and then along with Venus she got the doubles championship as well. World tennis competition is on guard.
mike and bob BRYAN
They’re wellknown from past years, but Mike and Bob Bryan haven’t achieved their dream of a gold medal. They’re back this year for another shot. They’re tennis’s most recognized and successful doubles team and head into the Games as No. 1 on the men’s side. Their bronze four years ago wasn’t enough, and they think this might be their last chance at greatness. They’ve won 76 titles and more than 700 matches together. This could be the best one of their lives.
julie and katie REINPRECHT
Julia and Katie Reinprecht play a sport that might only surface for Americans once every four years, but they take field hockey super seriously. The sisters took a year off from Princeton University to train for the US team. They spent the year ahead of the Games overseas and the played in the PanAm Games. Then they returned to training for the biggest tournament around. Regardless of how the matches turn out, the sisters are set to return to campus this fall.
steven and diana LOPEZ
Taekwondo runs in the family for Steven Lopez, one of the world’s best fighters who has two Olympic gold medals under his belt. His sister, Diana, joins him in London. They both received bronze medals in Beijing and have their minds set on getting to the top. Even after all this time, they are still dazzled by the big lights. “My parents, who came from Nicaragua to the US — who would have ever thought that they would have American kids on the Olympic team?” Diana said. “That’s the epitome of the Olympic dream.”
zach and paige RAILEY
Zach Railey is is thrilled to share the sailing spotlight wit his sister, Paige. Zach earned the silver medal in the Finn class in 2008, but Paige didn’t make the cut that year. The two have been in love with the water since they were very young, and they are looking forward to sharing these uncharted waters with each other this summer. “We experienced the ups and downs together. You form a relationship outside of just being a brother and sister. That is what has brought us together, closer than just having a family relationship, is that we also have an athletic relationship,” Zach said.
grant and ross JAMES
Twins Grant and Ross James have always worked side-by-side as rowers who will be competing together again this summer in London. When the final spot was up for debate in the spring, and Ross was facing the chopping block, Grant excused himself from the voting process. The team ultimately decided that Ross deserved to be there with them. “First, he’s a teammate, and at the same time he’s my twin brother, so there’s a little higher level of connection there, so that makes it pretty cool,” Ross said.
haley and alyssa ANDERSON
Haley Anderson is getting some help from her older sister, Alyssa, as the two of them both have qualified for the USA Olympic team. Haley is a USC student with dreams of a medal. Her combination of size and speed make her a swimmer to watch in London. Alyssa, on the other hand, attends the University of Arizona, and was a surprise pick for the Summer Games.
And here’s a look back at some of the best siblings in recent Olympic history…
dave and mark SCHULTZ
Dave Schultz was a star wrestler from the beginning, winning state titles in high school and becoming a three-time NCAA All-American in college. He won gold in the 1984 Olympics. His brother, Mark, was a late bloomer but also won a state title; he was a two-time gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics. They are the only brothers to ever win both an Olympic and World gold medal in wrestling.
paul and morgan HAMM
How soon we forget Olympians from the recent past. Paul and Morgan Hamm were the face of men’s gymnastics for close to a decade before 2008 when both of the brothers had to withdraw due to injuries. During his career, Paul was the more successful of the two, taking home three Olympic medals, including a gold one in 2004. Not to be outdone by much, Morgan kept pace with his own Olympic silver at the same Games.
TYLER AND CAMERON WINKLEVOSS
The Winklevosses became household names only after their run-in with Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook, but throughout their adolescent years they were well-known in the sport of crew as they ranked among the top 20 junior rowers in the nation. They signed on at Harvard after high school and were on the team that won the NCAA championship in both 2003 and 2004. They competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but failed to medal, finishing 6th. The US team is suffering without them heading into London. “In rowing, the loss of the high-profile Winklevoss twins from competition could cost the sport some needed star power. Never mind that their celebrity derived from their high-profile dispute with Zuckerberg,” said one reporter.