Feb. 14, 2012, 12:21 p.m. (ET)

The list of siblings in sports is long. Most often, they compete in the same sport, like figure skating’s Hughes sisters, the Bryan brothers and Williams sisters in tennis, and the fencing Smarts, to name a few.

Less often, sibs compete in different sports. The multitalented Mills family saw Phoebe win a bronze medal in gymnastics at the 1988 Olympics, while brother Nate speed skated in the next three Winter Olympics. And Gillian and Shannon Boxx both have gold medals, from softball (1996 Olympics) and soccer (2004 Olympics), respectively.

Marshevet and Destinee Hooker aim to join the list of siblings who compete at the Olympics in different sports — and win gold medals — Marshevet in track & field, Destinee in volleyball.

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The Hooker sisters were born three years apart to Marvetta and Ricky Hooker, who played basketball for St. Mary’s University. Their dad was then a sixth round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs in 1983.

Growing up, Marshevet, now 27, and Destinee, 24, shot hoops in the street, but they also rode bikes and ran around the neighborhood like other kids. And sibling rivalry was a persistent driver, especially for two girls often dressed alike.

“There were always races up and down the street on bikes and always battles playing basketball,” said Destinee, on a Skype call from Brazil, where she is competing with the Sollys/Nestle volleyball club.

“I used to beat her when I was younger and she was shorter!” piped in Marshevet, also on the call. “Then she got taller and a lot more agile and that stopped.”

Vet, as friends and family call her, is 5-foot-9. Destinee didn’t stop growing until she hit 6-foot-4.

Sometimes, their dad would play his daughters in pickup basketball. Two on one, they never beat him — ever.

Destinee Hooker
Destinee Hooker

In seventh grade, Marshevet joined the school volleyball team — her first organized sport. By high school, she was on the basketball and track teams as well.

Little sis — who wasn’t very little — followed.

“I wanted to be just like her,” said Destinee. “That’s why I got into sports, period.”

Except she skipped track and found a field event instead.

“I don’t like to run,” she admitted, and Marshevet laughed.

Destinee joined the track & field team because her sister was on it and taught herself to high jump — “trying to figure out how to get over the bar with a 6-foot-4 frame.”

Around the same time, Marshevet’s focus shifted from basketball to track, where she excelled at sprinting. She made the world junior team and gave up her dream of competing in the WNBA. She now loved track, and the University of Texas recruited her. As a college junior, she won the 2005 Outdoor NCAA 100m title and helped the Longhorns earn their fourth NCAA crown.

That fall, Texas recruited Destinee for volleyball, though she also wanted to compete in basketball and high jump. She made the leap to college a semester early, so she could compete with Marshevet on the Longhorn’s track & field team.

In March 2006, Marshevet and Destinee led the Longhorns to their sixth Indoor NCAA team title, with the sisters tallying over half the team’s points.

At the Big 12 Championship in May, they won four events for Texas (long jump, 100m, 200m, and high Jump) and helped the team win its sixth Big 12 title.

Injured at regionals, Marshevet couldn’t compete at 2006 Outdoor NCAAs. Instead, she cheered Destinee to her first NCAA high jump title, then signed a pro contract, foregoing her last season of collegiate eligibility. Her coach said why not? She had already achieved everything at the college level.

While Marshevet went pro, Destinee thrived in both collegiate volleyball and high jump, collecting countless honors, including the Most Outstanding Player at the 2009 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championships and three consecutive Outdoor NCAA high jump titles (she is the second woman in NCAA history to win three in a row).

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, Marshevet qualified in the 200m. Three weeks out of volleyball training, Destinee also competed, finishing fourth in high jump.

“You can’t really be upset when you come off one sport and then try to make it right off the bat in another sport,” she said. “I only missed [the Olympic team] by one spot. To me, it was a huge accomplishment.”

Destinee was happy for Marshevet too. “There was someone else with the same last name that qualified,” she explained. “That was like I had qualified.”

Since then, Destinee has focused on volleyball, officially competing with the U.S. team as an opposite hitter since 2010. Marshevet thinks she made the right choice: “When my sister is out on the court, she’s a different person. She turns into a beast, and I love it. It gives me chills.”

Destinee credits her sister with teaching her how to succeed in sports.

“I used to watch [Vet] when all the people were gone off the field,” said Destinee, who admitted that she once got by on her talent and height. “She would stay an hour later and practice her butt off and not care about the next day’s results and not care about how she was feeling because at the end of the day, she knew she worked hard. That’s how I want to be.”

The U.S. women’s volleyball team already qualified for the 2012 Olympics. Though the team has yet to be selected, Destinee — named MVP of the FIVB World Grand Prix after helping the Americans win the event for the second consecutive year in 2011, among other accomplishments — is a leading candidate.

Marshevet will try to qualify in the long jump, 100m, and 200m at the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June.

Marshevet Hooker

If she stays healthy, her chances are good, even against a deep field, including reigning 100m and long jump world champions Carmelita Jeter and Brittney Reese, and 2008 Olympic 200m silver medalist Allyson Felix.

A month after she injured a hamstring, she helped the U.S. win the 4x100m relay and made the 100m finals at the 2011 World Championships.

“It is my pure motivator because I want to be [at the Olympics] too,” said a determined Marshevet. “Every time I go to practice, I think about that.”

Briefly married, Marshevet competed as Myers in 2011. Destinee cheered when her sister said she is once again Hooker. She wants two Hookers on the program in London.

“I pray that [Vet] makes it,” said Destinee, “because even if I don’t win gold and she doesn’t win gold, the gold medal is us being together there.”


Peggy Shinn is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. This story was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.