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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

February 20, 2014 09:30 IST

Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

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Rivalry is fierce in international sport, and it gets fiercer when the stage is the Olympics.

With medals for the taking and pride at stake, athletes leave no stone unturned to emerge triumphant. It hardly matters whether they are up against arch-rivals, compatriots or their own siblings!

Yes, siblings.

The Winter Games at Sochi is host to many such examples of sibling bonding and sibling rivalry -- moments and experiences that will go in the family album for posterity.

Rediff.com presents a quick glance at the many siblings participating as teammates or opponents at the ongoing Winter Games.

Martin and Simon Fourcade

When French biathlete Martin Fourcade won his first Olympic gold, he celebrated the victory in the finish area with teammate and older brother Simon, who lost out on a medal.

"Being an Olympian is something wonderful, but sharing it with him is something incredible," Simon said.

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Image: France's gold medalist Martin Fourcade (left) celebrates with brother Simon Fourcade (centre) at the finish area after the men's 12.5 km Pursuit at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Anastasiya Kuzmina and Anton Shipulin

These biathletes are a unique story in themselves. The brother-sister duo are one of the rare examples of siblings representing different nations.

While Kuzmina plies her trade for Slovakia, Shipulin, who finished fourth in the men's 10-kilometre sprint last week, wears Russia's colours at the Winter Games.

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Image: Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina (left) competes in the Women's Biathlon 15 km Individual at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center. Kuzmina's brother, Anton Shipulin, represents Russia
Photographs: Getty Images and Petr Josek/Reuters

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Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

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The Dufour-Lapointe sisters

When Justine and Chloe took gold and silver in moguls they were the third pair of sisters to place first and second in the same event at a Winter Olympics. The others were Christine and Marielle Goitschel of France in 1964 and Doris and Angelika Neuner of Austria in 1992.

Their other sister Kearney lost out on the honour of being the first freestyle skier to win back-to-back Olympic golds.

The three Dufour-Lapointe sisters of Canada have made headlines for their solidarity along with their medals.

When Justine Dufour-Lapointe won the moguls event, she grabbed sister Chloe's hand as they stepped onto the podium together.

"Holding Chloe's hand meant that I wasn't alone," Justine said.

"I was in shock. I saw Chloe and I felt calm. Holding her hand, I knew it would feel more like home."

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Sochi Games: Sister-act brings Canada glory in moguls skiing

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Image: Dufour-Lapointe of Canada and gold medalist Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada congratulate each other during the flower ceremony following the Ladies' Moguls Final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi
Photographs: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

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Alex and Maia Shibutani

Figure skaters Alex and Maia add glamour to the Sochi Games with their svelte moves.

The brother-sister duo, who also won bronze at the World Championships in 2011, faced some wardrobe malfunction during their free dance routine on Monday but fought on. 

"To be on this journey, it means so much more to us for that very reason, and to our family as well," Alex said about competing with his sister at the Olympics.

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Image: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States compete during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance at the Sochi Winter Games
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Michel and Ronald Mulder

In the speedskating arena, Dutch twins Michel and Ronald Mulder won gold and bronze in the men's 500-metre race.

In the second run, Ronald Mulder produced a best-of-the-day 34.49 seconds to jump from sixth into gold medal position with only six skaters left.
Michel then bettered his twin brother's times in the penultimate heat against a disappointing Mo, who finished fourth, before the final pairing drama.

"If your twin brother becomes Olympic champion and you win bronze you have to be satisfied," said Ronald.

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Sochi Olympics: Mulder twins claim gold and bronze, Dutch sweep

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Image: Gold medallist Michel Mulder of the Netherlands (left) celebrates with his brother and bronze medallist Ronald Mulder (right), during the victory ceremony for the men's speed skating 500m race at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Photographs: Jim Young/Reuters

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Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

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Tomass and Martins Dukurs

In skeleton, two-time World champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia has brother Tomass on the team. Dukurs won a silver medal at the Vancouver Winter Games, while older brother Tomass finished fourth.

Martins said he and Tomass enjoy a close relationship and were "pushing each other".

"We are competitors and we don't have secrets," he added.

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Image: Latvia's Tomass Dukurs and Martins Dukurs
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters and Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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Sibling rivalry and bonding take centre stage @Sochi Games

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Dario and Gianluca Cologna

The Cologna brothers are superstars in their own right with a fan club in their honour. And Dario made his fans proud when he won the skiathlon and the 15km classic for Switzerland at the ongoing Sochi Games.

Cross-country skier Dario Cologna competes in the team sprint with younger brother Gianluca.

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Image: Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Gianluca Cologna
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images and Getty Images

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Taylor and Bryan Fletcher

One among the seven sets of siblings in the US team, the duo who is participating in the Nordic combined (Ski jumping and cross-country) share a warm camaraderie.

27-year-old Bryan is a cancer survivor; he says that sport and Taylor helped rejuvenate his spirits.

Bryan Fletcher, 27, and four years older than Taylor, agreed that the Nordic combined got his mind off the treatment for leukaemia.

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Image: Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher of the United States
Photographs: Lars Baron/Getty Images

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Tarjei and Johannes Boe and the Gasparin sisters

The Norwegian biatheletes take inspiration from each other to get to the top. 

Elder brother Tarjei is a seven-time World champion and defending Olympic champion in the relay, having struck gold in Vancouver four years ago.

Both brothers are part of the men's relay team.

Selena Gasparin, 29, has been a trailblazer for women's biathlon in Switzerland. She has her younger sisters Elisa and Aita for company at Sochi.

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Image: Johannes Thingnes Boe (left) and Tarjei Boe
Photographs: Lars Baron/Getty Images

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Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, Linger brothers and Sics brothers

United States cross-country teammates Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, from Washington, are very popular among fans.

While being in the same team, they also have also have a competitive edge over each other.

"Erik and I have a unique competitive nature with each other. We're always trying to beat each other," Sadie Bjornsen said in an interview last week.

Meanwhile, the men's double luge event has two sets sets of brothers in competition -- Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger and Latvian brothers Andris and Juris Sics. 

While the former pair took silver, the latter won bronze in their event last week.

In the luge doubles, where one rider lies directly on top of the other as they zip down the course at high speed, understanding and teamwork is crucial.

"We understand each other, without words, without gestures even," Andris said of the trust the brothers have in each other.


Image: Erik Bjornsen of the United States (left) and Sadie Bjornsen
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images and Clive Mason/Getty Images

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