The 2012 Olympic games took place July 27 - August 12 in London, England. With thousands of athletes competing in over two dozen sports, there were several notable incidences of athletes with a connection to twins or multiples. Perhaps these talented athletes are fueled by their competitive natures if they grew up as a twin, or by the endurance and focus that is required of parents of twins.
Twins Competing in the 2012 London OlympicsI discovered more than a dozen sets of twins who competed in the 2012 London Olympic games. In some cases, the twins were competing together as partners, such as in synchronized swimming or tennis doubles. But in others the twins competed in the same event, but in different classes. And one set of twins even competed against each other in their quest for gold.
Bob & Mike Bryan (United States, Tennis, Men’s Doubles): After winning bronze in Beijing in 2008, this tennis dynamic duo took the gold in London. In addition, Mike Bryan won a bronze medal in mixed doubles. They are one of the highest ranked tennis doubles teams in history, winning more than 700 matches together.
Grant & Ross James (United States, Rowing, Men’s Eight): The twin brothers started rowing together at the University of Wisconsin. Grant was the first to qualify for the Olympics in the men’s eight boat, and Ross claimed the final seat in the months leading up to the games. They are also champion shooters. Their boat did not medal, taking fourth in the men's eight final.
(Rowing, Men's Lightweight Four): Three sets of twins competed against each other in a single event on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 in the men's lightweight four seminfinal for rowing: Tycho & Vincent Muda from the Netherlands, Jochen & Martin Kuehner from Germany, and Jan & Ondrej Vetesnik from the Czech Republic all represented their countries as two of the four rowers in their boats. The boat from Great Britain went on to win silver in the event.
Nikolaos & Apostolos Gkountoulas (Greece, Rowing, Men's Pair) are another set of twin rowers. They rowed as a pair in a two-man boat but did not medal.
Jiang Wenwen & Jiang Tingting (China, Synchronized Swimming, Team): Synchronized swimming seems to be a sport ideal for twins. The identical twin sisters competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing fourth as a duet, and earning a bronze medal for their team performance. In 2012, they competed in the team event, and won the silver medal.
Etel & Sofia Sánchez (Argentina, Synchronized Swimming, Duets) Another set of identical twins that has found success in the synchronized swimming sport, these Argentinian sisters competed as a duet in synchronized swimming. They were eliminated from competition in the qualification round.
Pavol & Peter Hochschorner (Slovakia, Canoe Slalom, Men's C2 Slalom): Competing together in a 2-man slalom canoe, the most decorated athletes in Olympic canoeing history came into the London games with three previous gold medals from Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). But in London, they lost out to hometown favorites Great Britain, taking the bronze.
Gözde Kırdar Sonsırma & Özge Kırdar Çemberci (Turkey, Women's Volleyball): These twin sisters are members of the Turkish women's volleyball team. The six-foot tall sisters play outside hitter and setter, respectively. The Turkish team ended up ninth place overall.
Lucija & Ana Zaninović (Croatia, Taekowndo): These twin sisters compete in taekowndo, but in different weight categories. Ana competes in the bantamweight category (-57 kg) while Lucija is a flyweight (-49 kg). Lucija earned a bronze medal in her category.
Nenad & Neven Zugaj (Croatia, Greco-Roman Wrestling): Another set of twins from Croatia are brothers Nenad and Neven Zugaj. As wrestlers, they compete in different weight categories, however, so they would not face each other as competitors. Nenad compets in the Men’s 84kg class, while Neven is in the 74kg class. Neither brother medaled in 2012.
Jonathan & Kévin Borlée (Belgium, Track & Field): The identical twin brothers are sprinters and competed together in the Men’s 4x400 relay, as well as against each other in the men’s 400m event. The twins are coached by their father, and also competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The twins finished 5th (Kevin) and 6th (Jonathan) in the 400m race, their times separated by only 1/100th of a second, while their relay team in the 4x400 event finished 6th.
Athletes Who are Twins
In addition to twins who are competing together at the 2012 London Olympics, there are numerous athletes who have a twin sibling. They include:
- Jack Bobridge (Australia, Cycling-Track, Men’s Team Pursuit): Has a twin brother. Bobridge won the silver in the Men's Team Pursuit event.
- Kate Gynther (Australia, Women’s Water Polo): Has a twin brother. The Australian women's water polo team earned a bronze medal.
- Jake Gibb (United States, Men’s Beach Volleyball): Has a twin brother. Gibb and his partner were defeated in the quarterfinals and eliminated from further competition.
- Ryan Cochrane (Canada, Swimming, Men’s 400m Freestyle and Men’s 1500m Freestyle): Has a twin brother. Won the silver in the Men's 1500m Freestyle event.
- Caroline Nichols: (United States, Women’s Field Hockey): Has a twin brother. The United States team finished 12th in the field hockey competition.
- Megan Rapinoe (United States, Women’s Soccer): Has a twin sister. Megan and her teammates on the women's soccer team took home the gold for the United States.
Athletes who are Parents of Twins
Sure, being an Olympic athlete takes skill, perseverence and endurance, but so does parenting twins! These individuals are not only world-class athletes, but they are also parents of twins.
- Martin Dent (Australia, Track & Field, Men’s Marathon): Has two-year-old twin boys, Connor and Hayden. Martin Dent finished 28th, running his best time all season.
- Roger Federer (Switzerland, Tennis, Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles): Has three-year-old twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva. Took the silver medal after losing to Andrew Murray in the singles final.
- Mary Kom (India, Boxing, Women’s Flyweight): Also known as Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, the boxer has twin boys, Rechungvar and Khupneivar. The twins turned five while their mother was competing at the Olympics. She received a bronze medal.
- Angelo Taylor (United States, Track & Field, Men’s 400m Hurdles): Has seven-year-old twin boys, Xavier and Isaiah. Taylor finished 5th in the 400m Hurdles and took the silver medal as part of the U.S. 4x400m relay, replacing Manteo Mitchell who broke his leg during the qualifying heat.
- Lashinda Demus (United States, Track & Field, Women’s 400m Hurdles): Has four-year-old twin boys, Dontay and Duaine. Lashinda earned the silver medal in the 400m Hurdles.
- Jeff Powers (United States, Men’s Water Polo): Has boy/girl twins born in 2012. The mens's water polo team finished 8th.
- Mo Farah (Great Britain, Track & Field, Men’s 5000m, Men’s 10,000m): Expecting twin girls in the fall of 2012. Farah won both of his events, dedicating his double gold medals to his unborn twins. He's going to be a great dad of twins, already recognizing that you need two of everything when you have twins!
- Manu Ginóbili (Argentina, Men’s Basketball): Has two-year-old twin boys, Dante and Nicola. His team lost the bronze to Russia in the finals.
- Phillip Dutton (United States, Equestrian, Team and Individual): Has twin daughters born in 2001. He finished 23rd overall in the individual competition and the United States team finished 7th.
Finally, there is one athlete of note for being the son of a twin. Sam Hazewinkel competes in the 2012 games as the first second-generation wrestler. His father, Dave Hazewinkel and his uncle, Jim Hazewinkel, are twins who competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympic games. Hazewinkel finished 7th in his event.
Know of any other Twins in the 2012 London Olympics that aren't mentioned here? Please let me know about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.