Three-time Olympian Tracy Barnes says it was an “honour” to sacrifice her spot on the 2014 Olympic biathlon team so that her twin sister, Lanny, could go to Sochi.
Lanny’s Olympic dream looked dead and buried last week. She was sick, and could only compete in one of the four races at the Olympic Trials. As a result, her sister Tracy was selected to go to Sochi.
But Tracy turned down the nomination, giving the final spot to the first alternate — her sister Lanny.
After volunteering to give up her spot, Tracy said it was the right thing to do in a powerful explanation for her decision.
Here’s her full statement from Team USA:
“Olympic Trials are always an emotional ride and that’s good because it is meant to test you on all levels. The Trials are picking the team that will represent the U.S. in the greatest sporting event in the world. And as the old saying goes, ‘Only the strong will survive.’ Most of the time, that is the case. On occasion the strong don’t survive for whatever reason. And that is what I feel happened to Lanny. She’s having a stellar season and she’s bound to do great things this year, but she fell ill during the trials and couldn’t race. Because of that she didn’t make the team. While most people would say, ‘That’s biathlon,’ or, ‘That’s life’ — and they’d be absolutely correct in saying that — but what if that person who was hit with a little bit of bad luck got a second chance? What if someone believed in them enough to give them that chance? Well, that’s what I did. Easy decision. Heavy situation.
“I can think of no greater honour in the world than representing my country in the Olympics and it’s something that I’ve worked towards for over 15 years (half of my life). But the Olympics are about more than just winning gold, or even competing … they are about friendship, cooperation, sacrifice, and a whole host of other things. Lanny is my best friend and my teammate. I see how hard she works on a daily basis, so I know first hand that she is deserving of a spot on the Olympic Team. If I can be the one to give her that opportunity, than that is an honour and a sacrifice that I am willing to make.”
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