Twin runners Lisa and Anna Hahner represented Germany in the Olympic marathon on Tuesday. They placed far behind the winner by about 21 minutes, and supposedly fifteen minutes behind their usual marathon times, at 81st and 82nd place. They decided to make the best of the situation and hold hands like the loving twins they while crossing the finish line. To that, Germany says, “Nein.”
The Telegraph reports that sports director of the German Athletics Federation, Thomas Kurschilgen, is disgusted by the show of sibling affection at an Olympic event, saying, “It looked as though they completed a fun run and not (an) Olympic (race),” and expanding in an email to The New York Times with:
“Victory and medals are not the only goal... Still, every athlete in the Olympic competitions should be motivated to demonstrate his or her best performance and aim for the best possible result.
“Their main aim was to generate media attention... That is what we criticize.”
The twins do have a social media presence like most athletes, but they say they certainly didn’t plan the moment.
Anna Hahner told the Times that they’d both trained for four years for the event, which naturally splits them at certain points during the run. It seemed symbolic that they happened to line up after pushing hard to finish the race. She says, “I invested all I had and 300 meters before the finish line, I was next to Lisa. It was a magical moment that we could finish this marathon together. We did not think about what we were doing.”
A columnist in German newspaper Die Welt named Lars Wallrodt wrote that he was more or less sickened by the display, saying, “If the Hahners jointly want to cross the finish line, beaming and holding hands, then they can — in the countryside home run in St. Pölten or the Miss-Braided run in Solingen... At the Olympics all athletes should go to achieve maximum performance, not the most sympathetic photo opportunity.” Meow.