Jan 14, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
Tracy Barnes could think of only one greater honor than making the U.S. Olympic Team.
Letting her twin sister go instead.
Barnes, 31, earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team following last weekend’s final qualifying races. She declined it to allow the woman next in line to go to Sochi.
That woman was Lanny Barnes.
Lanny fell ill over the weekend, missed three of the final four selection races in Italy, and her hopes of going to a third Olympics vanished. Five women go to the Olympics. Lanny was just out of the running until Tracy informed her of a decision she made before that final race.
“Love is selfless dedication,” Tracy said, according to 3 Wire Sports. “Love means giving up your dream so someone else can realize theirs.”
Tracy, a 2006 Olympian and five minutes younger than Lanny, knew the weight of her choice — a “heavy situation” — and wanted to give her sister a second chance.
They hiked in the mountains after the final race Sunday. That’s where Tracy told Lanny of her choice, which was received by protest from Lanny and tears from both, according to 3 Wire Sports.
“As the old saying goes, ‘Only the strong will survive,’” Tracy said, according to US Biathlon. “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 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.”
Tracy emailed her friends and family Monday, according to the Durango (Colo.) Herald.
“I think that her selfless act encompasses what an Olympian truly is,” Lanny said, according to US Biathlon. “Often times during the hype of the Games we forget what the Olympics are really about. They aren’t about the medals and the fame and all of that. The Olympics are about inspiration, teamwork, excellence and representation. I can think of no better example of the true Olympic spirit than what Tracy.”
Lanny, who has trained with her twin for 15 years, relishes the opportunity.
“It’s not every day that you are given a second chance like this,” Lanny said. “I thought my chance at the Olympics was over, but now I’ve got a second chance and will do everything I can to bring honor to her and our country in Russia.”
It’s often said the Olympics are about more than medals, that they are about taking part, sportsmanship and fair play.
“The Olympics are about more than just winning gold, or even competing,” Tracy said. “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 honor and a sacrifice that I am willing to make.”
Mar 7, 2014, 3:28 PM EST
Full Day 1 recap of events in Sopot, Poland.
Mar 7, 2014, 2:15 PM EST
Ukraine official has said delegation may leave Sochi if Crimea situation escalates.
Mar 7, 2014, 1:52 PM EST
White House spokesman says case of beer will be delivered soon.
Mar 7, 2014, 1:39 PM EST
Races for World Cup crystal globes heat up in Sweden.
Mar 7, 2014, 11:52 AM EST
Zero Americans won medals in Sochi. Two made the podium in one day in Inzell.
Mar 7, 2014, 10:51 AM EST
Canada’s gold-medal goalie headed for Columbus, Ga.
Mar 7, 2014, 10:30 AM EST
Watch the ceremony from Fisht Stadium in Sochi.
Mar 7, 2014, 9:58 AM EST
Security guard, ex-girlfriend testify on fifth day of murder trial.
Mar 7, 2014, 9:49 AM EST
Same agency that confirmed Yuna Kim is dating a South Korean hockey player.
Mar 7, 2014, 6:59 AM EST
Lead singer rubbed blue substance on his face during their performance.
Mar 7, 2014, 6:31 AM EST
Ukraine athletes set to compete in Russia amid Crimea situation.
Mar 6, 2014, 6:43 PM EST
1984 and 1988 Olympic champion joins Arizona Cardinals staff.
Mar 6, 2014, 6:28 PM EST
Teemu Selanne’s socks among more than 50 items on display.
Mar 6, 2014, 6:10 PM EST
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Mar 6, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Tatyana McFadden eyes history in homecoming. Military vets share common sledge hockey bond. Model/Amazing Race contestant helps bring snowboading to Paralympics. Husband and wife team go for skiing gold. Former Austrian World Cup Alpiner learns to ski again.
Mar 6, 2014, 1:21 PM EST
New U.S. sprint star, world records watch, Jamaican back from failed drug test.
Mar 6, 2014, 11:33 AM EST
Austrian Olympic champion takes victory in Sweden.
Mar 6, 2014, 10:28 AM EST
Universal Sports has live online coverage all weekend.
Mar 6, 2014, 9:46 AM EST
Oscar Pistorius kneeled, cried, prayed while holding girlfriend, witness said.
Mar 5, 2014, 4:33 PM EST
Canadian women’s goalie practiced with the Oilers on Wednesday.
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