Olympian Bows Out So Her Sister Can Go to Sochi Instead

Lanny and Tracy Barnes have been skiing and shooting for a decade

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This is what the Olympics are all about.

Lanny and Tracy Barnes are twin sisters hailing from Durango, Colo. They’ve both been members of the U.S. biathlon team since 2004, and were both hoping to head to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. But only Lanny’s going to Russia.


During a series of four qualifiers, Lanny fell ill and missed all but one race, effectively eliminating her from Olympic consideration. Tracy, on the other hand, made the team. But then she did something amazing: she decided to sit this one out, meaning Lanny will head to Sochi instead.

“I can’t even begin to describe what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me,” said Lanny of her sister’s sacrifice, per Team USA’s official site. “We have been training together every day for the past 15 years, and I know how hard she has worked to make this team. I think that her selfless act encompasses what an Olympian truly is.”

For the uninitiated, biathlon is a winter olympic sport combining cross-country skiing with rifle target shooting, first invented by Norwegian soldiers. Bonus fact: The sport played a key role in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.