Somewhere around the halfway point, Chloe Gruenke realized she was in trouble.
“I felt something pull and pop in my thigh…and I fell to the ground,” Chloe said.
The 13-year-old West-Clin middle schooler was in the middle of an 800-meter race at the Southern Illinois State track meet when the injury occurred, leaving her hobbled and unable to continue.
That’s when Claire, Chloe’s twin sister, stepped in.
According to Shawndrea Thomas of Fox 2 St. Louis, Claire saw her sister struggling and stopped running in order to help. In a few moments, both girls went from contending to last place—but their race wasn’t over.
Hoisting Chloe to her feet, Claire put her injured sister on her back and began jogging. Claire carried Chloe the remaining 370 meters, and the two girls crossed the finish line together to roaring applause from the crowd.
“I have to admit it was pretty emotional,” said Coree Woltering, the twins’ track coach.
Claire says her decision to stop and carry her sister was born out of respect for the basic tenets of competition.
“It’s about showing compassion, love and sportsmanship,” she said. “Even if you lose and help somebody it’s still worth it. The energy from the crowd made me strong. They were saying I can’t believe you just did that.”
Indeed, Claire not only stopped and helped, but she had enough beast mode inside her to finish the full lap. She literally put the team/twin on her back and crossed the plane.
Congrats, Gruenke twins, and thank you for proving the box score doesn’t always tell the tale of a competition.
Ice up that hammy, Chloe. Happens to the best of us.
She put the twin on her back, do'.