Athlete Gives Up Olympic Spot—to Twin Sister

Tracy Barnes says Lanny would have beat her if she wasn't sick

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 16, 2014 12:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Tracy Barnes won a spot on the US Olympic biathlon team Sunday, but she's not taking it. She gave up her place so her twin sister, Lanny, could go instead. Lanny had been too sick to compete in all the selection races, but Tracy believes her sister had a better year and would have made the team if not for the awful timing of her illness. "She had a stellar year," Tracy tells USA Today. "She just had a bit of bad luck getting sick. I would have loved the opportunity to represent my country but it means more to me to give Lanny that chance."

When Tracy told Lanny about her decision, Lanny initially said no. The sisters cried together, and Lanny ended up agreeing. "She realized how much I wanted to do this for her," Tracy says. "It shows if you care enough about someone, you're willing to sacrifice everything," Lanny says. "It shows true Olympic spirit. The Olympics are not always about gold medals." Had Lanny been able to compete fully, she likely would have landed ahead of her sister in the rankings; instead, she came out just behind, the Durango Herald reports. The sisters competed together in Torino in 2006; only Lanny made it to Vancouver in 2010. They're 31 now, and Sochi will likely be their last shot at the Games.

This April 24, 2013 photo shows Tracy Barnes, left, watching her twin sister Lanny Barnes take aim near Molas Pass after a morning workout.
This April 24, 2013 photo shows Tracy Barnes, left, watching her twin sister Lanny Barnes take aim near Molas Pass after a morning workout.   (AP Photo/Durango Herald, Shaun Stanley)
Lanny Barnes of the US during an official training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Monday, Feb. 15, 2010.
Lanny Barnes of the US during an official training session at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Monday, Feb. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Jin-man Lee)
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