Tracy Barnes achieved a monumental goal earlier this week when she qualified for the United States Olympic Biathlon team. Why would she turn down such an honor? So that her twin sister could go.
Barnes and her twin sister Lanny are both elite biathletes, and Lanny was the final competitor eliminated after this past weekend's Olympic qualifying. Lanny had fallen ill, and missed three of the final four qualifying races. Tracy thus gave up her spot to Lanny, the next athlete in line.
Lanny has been to two Olympics in 2006 and 2010; Tracy was a member of the 2006 Olympic team. The two have trained together for 15 years. Tracy made the decision to surrender her spot to her sister before the final race this past weekend, and informed Lanny of her decision during a hike on Sunday afternoon. Lanny protested, but Tracy would hear none of it.
“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.”
"I can't even begin to describe what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me," Lanny said. "It's hard to put into words what she did and what it means to me. 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."
Yahoo Sports' Elite Athlete Workout on fellow Olympian biathete Russell Currier: