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|August 30, 2000||
Harrison twins eye historic relayMitch Phillips in the Gold Coast
Local residents might recognise Michael Johnson when he arrives on the Gold Coast but they could be forgiven for confusing fellow American 400 metre runners Calvin and Alvin Harrison.
The two Olympic hopefuls are identical twins and, with their heads shaved and smiles permanently in residence, telling the difference is not easy even for regular followers of track and field.
The Harrison twins were two of just a handful of athletes who formed the vanguard of the U.S. track squad at their training base in Queensland and they have taken full advantage of their early arrival.
While Maurice Greene was shivering in Gateshead, England, the Harrisons were swimming with dolphins at the Gold Coast's Sea World and enjoying training in the warm Queensland sun.
The twins make no apology for enjoying every moment of the Olympic experience, something that seemed beyond their wildest dreams just a few short years ago.
"Our hearts are just overjoyed to be sharing this time together and being part of history," Calvin said this week.
The twins famously spent some time in the mid-1990s living in a Ford Mustang after family problems left them in desperate straits.
"Everyone has hardships and we had ours," said Calvin. "But we learned a lot and made good of it."
A move to California started the recovery and after little more than a year's serious training they both qualified for the 1996 Olympics.
Calvin went out in the semis but Alvin made the final, finishing fourth. Alvin later ran the second leg on the winning 4x400 relay team
More problems followed, however, as less than two months after the Games their younger sister was murdered in Jacksonville, Florida. Calvin then suffered foot paralysis in 1997 and last year their grandmother, who had virtually raised them, died.
The traumas took their toll and the twins rarely raced again until this season.
Remarkably they found their form in time for last month's U.S. trials when Alvin finished second behind Olympic champion and world record holder Johnson and Calvin fifth, to book a place in the squad.
Now they have eyes on the 4x400 relay, where if they both make the team they will be the first twins to do so in the 104-year history of the Games.
"That would be something very, very special," said Calvin.
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