Twins in the Olympics
Athens Olympic Competitors
This is Twinstuff’s list of twins who competed together in the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece as well as a partial list of other athletes at the games who competed there without their twins. We knew of 12 pairs of twins who participated in Athens and profiled another seven individuals who were there without their twins. If you are aware of any Olympians who were in Athens who are twins who aren’t on this list, please let us know via email. Congratulations to all the twins who represented their nations in Athens and especially to the five sets highlighted first (the Hamms, the Hochschorners, the Evers-Swindells, the Tanchevas and the Stewarts) who each won medals.
Paul and Morgan Hamm–US Men’s Gymnastics Team
Congratulations to the first medal-winning twins in Athens, Paul and Morgan, who earned silver medals as part of the Men’s Team competition on August 16, 2004. Two nights later, on August 18, Paul captured the Men’s All-Around Individual Gold Medal in a controversial decision (a scoring gaffe may have cost a Korean gymast the gold medal), the first U.S. male gymnast to ever win that prestigious title. Paul also won a silver medal in the high bar individual event finals.
A lot has happened to the Hamm Twins since they competed together in Sydney. Paul and Morgan turned 21 (they’ll turn 22 after the games end), they continue to be among the premier men’s gymnasts in the world and they even made the list of People Magazine’s 50 most eligible bachelors! Paul captured the 2003 World Gymastics Championships all-around medal, the first American male to ever earn that honor. Morgan’s specialty continues to be the floor, where he is a three-time U.S. National Champion. For more on Paul and Morgan, we invite you to visit this frequently-updated site.
Pavol and Peter Hochschorner –Slovakia Men’s Kayak
The 24-year-old Hochschorner Twins won their second straight dual gold medals in the Men’s Canoe C2 Doubles with a 4-second win in competition on August 20. They were nearly 12 seconds faster than their next nearest team in preliminaries. They have been top-ranked in the world for five straight years in their C2 event. We’ll have to research to see if twins have ever each won gold medals in back-to-back Olympics but our guess is that it hadn’t been done before.
Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell–New Zealand Rowing (Double Sculls)
The two-time World Champion (2002 & 2003) 25-year-old twins favorites easily captured gold in their event in a time of 7:01.79 on August 20. They won New Zealand’s first gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. They also became the second set of twins to each win golds at the 2004 Olympics.
Vladislava and Galina Tancheva –Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnastics (Group Competition)
The Tancheva Twins were part of the Bulgarian team that took bronze in the group finals on the last day of the Athens games, August 29. The 17-year-old twins have already stated they want to be a part of the Bulgarian team that will likely compete in Beijing in 2008.
Geoff and James Stewart –Australia Rowing (Men’s Eight)
Captured their second straight bronze medal as their eight-man team took third place in competition on August 20. Also competed together in the Men’s Coxless Four in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and were part of the Australian bronze medal team. The now 30-year-old twins (born December 15, 1974) were joined on the 8-man team in Athens by their younger brother, Stephen, as the Stewarts became just the second Australian family in history to send three brothers to the Olympics.
Bob and Mike Bryan–US Men’s Tennis Team
Among the top-ranked doubles teams in the world, the 26-year-old twin brothers competed in their first Olympics in Athens, but were eliminated in the 3rd round of doubles competition. Bob and Mike were the 2nd-seeds at Wimbledon this summer but lost in the 3rd round. They won the 2003 French Open men’s double title, their only Grand Slam double title. When watching them play tennis, remember that Bob is the righty and Mike the lefty.
Christoph and Markus Dieckmann–Germany Beach Volleyball
The 28-year-old Dieckmann Twins from Bonn each played in their first Olympics, but not with each other. That’s because the twins fought with each other so much as partners that it was damaging their competitive games. Markus and his teammate, Jonas Reckermann, are currently ranked fourth in the world, while Christoph and his teammate, Andreas Scheuerpflug, are ranked ninth. Markus is four minutes older and three inches shorter than Christoph. By the way, the Dieckmann’s also have a younger pair of twin sisters, Susanne and Barbara, who are fraternal (and just 18 months younger than their brothers). Christoph and his teammate advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the Australian team of Prosser and Williams. Markus advanced to the round of 16 before losing to the U.S. team of Holdren and Metzger.
Birgit and Gabi Rockmeier –Germany Women’s Track and Field
The 30-year-old Rockmeier Twins ran the 4×100-meter relay for a German team which was thought to be a medal contender but surprisingly did not advance out of the first round. Both twins won gold medals in relays at the 2001 World Championships (one in the shorter relay, one in the 4×400 relay), and Gabi competed in the 2000 Olympics, also in the relays.
Jenny and Susanna Kallur –Sweden Women’s Track and Field
The 23-year-old Kallur Twins each competed in the 100 Meter Hurdles. The sisters each competed collegiately at the University of Illinois and were actually born in the United States. Susanna was the 2000 World Junior Champion in the sprint hurdles. Neither sister advanced to the event finals although Susanna did run an excellent 12.67 in the semis in her heat.
Sonja and Bianca van der Velden–Netherlands Synchronized Swimming (Duet)
The 28-year-old twin sisters train in the United States and competed in their first Olympics together. Twins were shutout of the medal count in this event in both Athens and Sydney so no twins have won medals in this event since 1992. They were 13th in qualifying and just missed competing in the finals competition.
Carolina and Isabella Moraes–Brazil Synchronized Swimming (Duet)
The 24-year-old twin sisters each attended Ohio State University. Carolina is considering a job with the Cirque du Soleil after the Olympics (not sure if that offer is extended to Isabella?) They took 12th in the duet competition in Athens.
Martin and Nicolas Efron –Argentina Men’s Volleyball
A pair of 25-year-old twins who will be playing together on the Argentinian men’s volleyball team. Martin is 6’5″ and Nicolas is 6’6″. Nicolas is considered the best player on the Argentinian squad. The Argentinian men lost in the quarterfinals to Italy.
Maartje Scheepstra –Netherlands Field Hockey Team
Making her Olympic debut, Maartje was born as the younger twin sister in the Yali tribe in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. In that tribe, younger twins are thought to be inferior and oftentimes still abandoned in the jungle to die. Maartje’s father walked six hours through a jungle and left her at a hospital. She survied and was cared for by a Dutch doctor who then adopted her and moved their family to Holland as a youngster. The Netherlands squad took the silver medal in this event, losing 2-1 to Germany in the finals. Maartje scored her team’s only goal in the gold medal game and had three goals in the Olympics.
Kerstin El Qalqili –Germany Rowing (Quadruple Sculls)
Won an Olympic Gold Medal in the quadruple in 2000 in Sydney while still rowing under her maiden name, Kowalski. Her twin sister, Manja, also was part of that Olympic gold-medal winning team but no longer rows. Kerstin got married in 2001 to a Palestinian native, Iradj El Qalqili, who founded the Palestinian Rowing Federation. She repeated that gold medal performance for the German team in Athens with their winning time of 6:29.29 on August 22.
Marie Mijalis –US Kayak K-4 Team (500 Meters)
Has a twin sister, Jeanne, who is also a rower, but who failed to qualify for the U.S. women’s team after suffering a rib injury prior to the Olympic Trials. A daughter of Greek parents, Marie and Jeanne’s mother, Elaine is currently battling breast cancer. Marie’s team finished fourth in the semis in Athens just failing to qualify for medal contention.
Inge de Bruijn –Netherlands Women’s Swimming
A star of the Sydney Olympics who won four medals, including three golds, and setting three world records. Repeated that medal count with four more medals in Athens with a gold in the 50M Free (24.58), a silver in the 100M Free (54.12), a bronze in the 100M Butterfly (57.99) and a bronze in the 4×100 Free Relay (3:37.59). Hadn’t competed much since Sydney but did emerge from almost two years away from the sport to win the 2003 World Championships in the 50 meter freestyle. She and her twin sister, Jakline, will turn 31 during the Athens games. Jakline is on the Dutch National Women’s Water Polo team.
Phillip Dunn –US Men’s Track & Field (50K Walk)
The U.S.’ top-ranking 50K walker who has qualified for his 2nd straight Olympics in the 50K Walk. Finished 28th in the Men’s 50K Walk in the 2000 Olympics in a time of 4:03.05. He followed that up with a 35th place finish in Athens in a time of 4:12.49. Has a twin brother Malcolm, who is now a track and field coach.
John Capel –US Men’s Track & Field (4×100)
Returning to Athens for his 2nd straight Olympics and is part of the pool for the 4×100 relay team. Has a fraternal twin brother, Jeff. The U.S. men took silver in this event in Athens.
Kate O’Neill –US Women’s Track & Field (10,000 Meters)
Was third in the 10K at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 32:07.25. Her twin sister, Laura, was 7th in the 10,000 Meters at the Olympic Trials with a time of 33:04.23. Kate finished 21st in Athens in a time of 32:24.04.
Salt Lake City Olympic Competitors
Here is a short list of twins we found who competed together in the 19th Winter Olympiad in Salt Lake City, Utah, or at least athletes who are twins who were in Utah without their twins.
Maurice and Francois Rozenthal–French Men’s Hockey Team
Hockey seems to bring out its share of twins, the Swedish Sedin Twins, the U.S. Ferraro Twins and the Canadian Sutter Twins all come to mind. But competing in their second straight Winter Olympics for France, the Rozenthal Twins currently play as teammates in the Swedish National League. They were born on June 20, 1975 and Maurice is a three-time French League MVP. Maurice was involved in each of France’s first four goals in the tournament, scoring three and assisting on the fourth, but France failed to advance to the 2nd round of qualifying in the games.
Dan and Darrin Steele–U.S. Men’s Bobsled Team
Competing in their 2nd straight Winter Olympics, the Steele Twins will be competing in different events for the United States with Dan in the 4-man event and Darrin in the 2-man event. Born on March 20, 1969, the Steele Twins are also accomplished Track & Field athletes while competing first at Eastern Illinois University and then at the national level.
One of the few triplets we’ve ever learned of who has competed in the Olympics, Cooper’s Salt Lake chances were snuffed out when she suffered a torn ACL in a practice session in Utah before her race. The 28-year-old triplet (she has fraternal sisters, Fiona and Sarah) was a pre-race favorite in both Salt Lake and Nagano in Japan in 1998, where she also had a setback with a fall during her race while finishing 28th.
Bagher Kalhor –Iran Men’s Alpine Skiing
A tremendous human interest story, Bagher is one of just two athletes competing for his native Iran in the Salt Lake Games. The 22-year-old will compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom. The amazing story about Bagher is that he and his twin, Sadegh, competed competitively from age 7-17 usually with Sadegh winning the races between the twins, but tragically he had a gruesome accident on the slopes in which one of his legs was severed below the knee. Sadegh has since become an accomplished skiier using just one leg and will be competing in Utah a few weeks after the Winter Games in the Paralympic Winter Games.
Sydney Olympic Competitors
We would like to salute all twins who competed for Olympic Glory in the 2000 Summer Games held in Sydney, Australia. If you are aware of any Olympians who are twins (we recognize nine sets who competed together in Sydney and another six whose twins didn’t qualify) and who aren’t on this list, please let us know via email. Congratulations to all the twins in Sydney and especially to the four sets of twins (the Harrison Twins, the Hochschorner Twins, the Kowalski Twins, and the Stewart Twins) and four other individual twins we highlight below who earned Olympic Medals.
Paul and Morgan Hamm–US Men’s Gymnastics Team
Competed in Sydney after finishing 2nd and 6th, respectively in the all-around in the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials. Paul was 6th in Team All-Around Qualifying in Day One of competition in Sydney and then finished 14th in the Men’s All-Around Finals with a score of 57.049, while Morgan took 7th in the Floor Event Finals. He and Morgan were a part of the U.S. Team that finished in fifth place in the Team Competition in the All-Around Finals.
Note: For more on the Hamm Twins, please visit our
Hamm Twins web page.
Pavol and Peter Hochschorner –Slovakia Men’s Kayak
Congratulations to the Hochschorner Twins, who we believe earned the first dual gold medals by twins at the Olympics in a dozen years with their gold medals September 20, 2000 in the Men’s Canoe C2 Doubles. The Hochschorner’s (237.74) took home the gold when a French team suffered a 50-point penalty by missing one of the last gates in front of a large crowd which included England’s Princess Anne. Pavol and Peter are 21-years-old and were born September 7, 1979 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Livia and Lucia Allarova (Slovakia), Carolina and Isabella Moraes (Brazil), Heba and Sara Abdel Cawad (Egypt) — Women’s Synchonized Swimming Duets
Twins held a distinct advantage in the women’s synchronized swimming duets competition which began Sunday, September 24, 2000. Three of the 24 teams featured twins (the 20-year-old Moraes’ from Brazil, the 26-year-old Allarova’s from Slovakia, and the 18-year-old Abdel Cawad’s from Egypt) in an event which has resulted in twins winning one-quarter of all medals won in the four Olympic competitions. The top finishers among the twins after Monday’s Free Routine (completing the preliminaries) were the Moraes Twins, who were in 12th. The Abdel Cawad’s were in 20th and the Allarova’s in 24th. The Moraes Twins stayed in that 12th position as the competition concluded on Tuesday.
Alvin and Calvin Harrison –US Men’s Track & Field Team
Identical Twins Alvin and Calvin joined the list of Golden Twin Olympians on Saturday, September 30, 2000 when they ran the first and third legs of the Gold Medal-Winning US Men’s 4×400 Meter Relay team which took first with a time of 2:56.35, winning the finals in a time of more than 2 seconds ahead of the Silver Medalists from Nigeria. After handing the baton to each other for most of the earlier relay rounds (as seen in the photo to the right), Alvin started off the relay in the Finals and gave the honor to his younger brother Cavlin of handing off the baton to to world recordholder Michael Johnson in the anchor of the Gold Medal race. Alvin also earned the Silver Medal in the 400 Meters in Sydney, finishing 2nd with a time of 44.40 to Johnson. Alvin and Calvin’s younger sister was murdered just weeks following those 1996 Olympics and the two Harrison Twins have been an inspirational story ever since.
Kirsten and Maja Kowalski –Germany Women’s Rowing (Quadruple Sculls)
Comprised half of the winning boat in the women’s Quadruple Sculls competition as Germany won its third straight gold medal in this event. East Germany had won this event three of the four Olympics before Germany was united before the 1992 games. Potsdam natives who were 24 at the time of their Olympic Golds.
Geoff and James Stewart –Australia Men’s Rowing
Compete together in the Men’s Coxless Four and were part of the Australian bronze medal team in the finals held on September 23, 2000. The 26-year-old twins (born December 15, 1974) are each 6’6″ although James weighs 10 pounds more than his brother.
Isabelle and Beatrice Mouthon –France Women’s Triathletes
Identical twins who competed for France in one of the game’s first events, the Women’s Triathlon. The grueling event saw competitors swim 1500 meters in Sydney Harbor, bike 25 miles in Sydney’s Business District and then run 6.25 miles. Isabelle Mouthon-Michellys finished 7th with a time of 2 hours, 2 minutes, 53 seconds, while Beatrice Mouthon finished 35th with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 8 seconds. The twins were born June 14, 1966 in Annecy, France. Isabelle is the more accomplished of the twins, ranking 3rd, 3rd and 7th in the world from 1997-99, with six top 10 finishes in the World Championships. Beatrice won the 1994 World Long Distance Championships.
Michelle Jones –Australia Women’s Triathlete
31-year-old identical twin who took the silver medal in the Women’s Triathlon in front of her local fans. Has won eight international triathlon competitions, including two World Triathlon Championsihps. Has a twin sister, Gabrielle, who didn’t qualify for Sydney, but who finished 4th in her age group at this year’s World Triathlon Championships.
Heather McDermid –Canada Women’s Rowing
Competed in Rowing Eight–Team finished with a time of 6:11.58 to earn the bronze medal. Has a twin sister Jill. Both were collegiate athletes, Heather also won a Silver Medal in Rowing in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Terry Brands –US Men’s Freestyle Wrestling
A two-time world champion, who along with his identical twin brother, Tom, each won world titles in 1993. Tom won a Gold Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics but Terry was eliminated in the U.S. Trials. He came out of retirement (he now coaches wrestling at the University of Nebraska) to compete one more time in Sydney, where he won the Bronze Meda in the 58 KG Freestyle Event.
Phillip Dunn –US Men’s Track & Field Team
Finished 28th in the Men’s 50K Walk in a time of 4:03.05.–Has a twin brother Malcolm.
John Capel –US Men’s Track & Field Team
Competing in 200 Meters–Surprise winner of US Olympic Trials in 200 Meters after favorites Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene pulled up with injuries. Ran a PR of 19.85 to win that race, bettering his previous best of 19.87 which won the 1999 NCAA Championships during his freshman year at the University of Florida. He and his fraternal twin Jeff are the youngest of 11 children and were born October 23, 1978 in Brookville, Florida. John was the best man at Jeff’s wedding in Florida on October 28, 2000 a month after the 200 Meter Finals in Sydney. John qualified to the finals of the 200 but finished a disappointing 8th with a controversial time of 20.49 after replays indicated he should have been given a false start.
Brad Hauser –US Men’s Track & Field Team
Competing in 5,000 Meters–He and his twin brother, Brent, both run distance events for Stanford University. Brent finished 11th at the US Olympic Trials in the 5K. Brad won both the 5,000 and 10,000 Meters at the 2000 NCAA Championships. Brad was 11th in his heat with a time of 13:39.41 and did not qualify for the 5,000 Meter Finals.
Selected Past Twin Olympians
Jim Thorpe, US, Gold Medalist, 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Decathlon & Pentathlon
Note: Named the Greatest Athlete in the First Half of the 20th Century, Thorpe won two golds in the 1912 Olympics, setting a world record in the Decathlon with a score that would have still earned a silver medal 36 years later. His medals were later stripped because of a professional baseball contract he had signed in 1909, but the IOC lifted the ban in 1982 and returned his medals to his family. Jim had a twin sister, Mary.
Rhoda and Rhona Wurtele, Canada, 1948 Winter Olympics, Skiing
Note: The Wurteles, who just recently turned 80 years young, who were the first Canadian women chosen for their countries’ Olympic Ski Team, are members of both the Canada and USA Skiing Hall of Fame. Injuries forced both out of competition at the 1948 Olympics, but they’re considered to be among Canada’s all-time greatest athletes and both are very active today.
Phil and Steve Mahre, US, Gold/Silver Medalist, 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, Slalom, Alpine Skiing
Note: The Mahre Twins may be the most accomplished members on this list to compete in the Winter Games and are the only ones on this list to each earn medals in individual competition in the same Olympic Games.
Madeline and Margaret de Jesus, Puerto Rico Women’s Track & Field, 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Note: Madeline was injured in the long jump competition in L.A. and tried to have her sister, who was in LA as a spectator, run a leg for her in the 1600 Meter Preliminary races. But their coach found out about the scam and scratched her from the team.
Ed and Lou Branch, US, Gold Medalists, 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Greco/Roman Wrestling in 198 1/2 and 220 Pound Classes, Respectively
Sarah and Karen Josephson, US, Gold Medalists, 1988 Seoul Olympics, Synchronized Swimming Pairs
Penny and Vicky Vilagos, Canada, Silver Medalists, 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Synchronized Swimming Pairs – later inducted into Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2002