Seven Days Out: Seven Sets Of Siblings
It’s hard enough to get one child to the Olympic Winter Games. Imagine getting a set of siblings there. Seven American families will know what that’s like as there are seven sets of siblings representing Team USA in Sochi.
One of the most memorable set of siblings to compete for the United States in the Winter Games is skiers Phil and Steve Mahre. This year, the Mahres are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their milestone, having won gold and silver medals, respectively, in slalom at the Sarajevo 1984 Olympic Winter Games.
With seven days remaining until the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, here are the seven sets that will be representing Team USA:
Erika and Craig Brown (curling): Erika is the skip for the U.S. women’s curling team, an All-Star squad that features athletes who all have Olympic experience prior to competing in Sochi this winter. Erika actually made her Olympic debut in 1988 when curling was a demonstration sport. She returned to the Winter Games in 1998. Erika’s teammates include Debbie McCormick (1998, 2002, 2010), Ann Swisshelm (2002) and Jessica Schultz (2006). Allison Pottinger, the fifth, competed in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Erika’s younger brother, Craig, also will be in Sochi as the fifth for Team USA’s men’s curling team.
Erik and Sadie Bjornsen (cross-country skiing): According to U.S. ski officials, the Bjornsens are the first set of siblings to make the same Olympic Team in cross-country skiing. They grew up in Washington state and recall going to a homecoming parade for Olympic cross-country skier Laura McCabe after she competed in Nagano, Japan. Now the Bjornsens are blazing their own Olympic paths together.
Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher (Nordic combined): Bryan and his younger brother, Taylor, were both nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team on Jan. 22. Bryan is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He lost his hair and reportedly started kindergarten by painting his head green and wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume. Now in remission, he and Taylor will be competing in the Winter Games together in Sochi. Taylor is known for his skills in the cross-country portion of the event while Bryan is known for his jumping prowess.
Arielle and Taylor Gold (snowboarding): And no, they are not related to that other Team USA athlete with the last name Gold, as in figure skater Gracie Gold. No athlete with the last name Gold has ever won a gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games (let alone competed in the Olympic Winter Games). Could this year be the first?
Amanda and Phil Kessel (ice hockey): The Kessels will be the first sister-brother pair to compete in ice hockey for the United States in the Winter Games. Phil’s regular hockey gig is as a right-winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a member of Team USA’s hockey team in 2010 when the Americans earned the Olympic silver medal in Vancouver. Amanda, meanwhile, will be making her Olympic debut in Sochi. Amanda won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in women’s college hockey after leading the University of Minnesota to a 41-0 record in 2013. As a member of Team USA, she helped lead the United States past Canada with the game-winning goal at the 2013 World Championships.
Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux (ice hockey): This set of sisters already has made one trip to the Winter Games together, collecting silver medals in Vancouver. Now they head to Sochi with hopes of bringing back gold medals. The twins are both forwards and are the first set of twins to play ice hockey in the Winter Games.
Maia and Alex Shibutani (figure skating): The Shibutanis are ice dancers and after placing third at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Janaury, they were nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi. The Shibutanis began skating together in 2005 when Maia was 9 and Alex was 12. Maia is now 19 and Alex is 22. They train alongside two-time world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who are considered the gold-medal favorites in Sochi.
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she has covered two Olympic Games and two Olympic Winter Games. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.