Biathlete Tracy Barnes Gives Up Spot on US Olympic Team to Twin Sister Lanny

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

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Athletes work hard to qualify for the Olympics. If they are lucky enough to make an Olympic team, most probably wouldn't consider giving up their spot.

However, United States biathlete Tracy Barnes decided to relinquish her spot to her twin sister, Lanny.

Both biathletes have been to the Olympics before. Lanny has been to the previous two Winter Olympics, and Tracy made the team back in 2006.

Tracy qualified for the Olympics this time around, but Lanny was the final competitor eliminated. Lanny was sick during qualifying and only able to participate in one of the four races. After her sister was unable to compete for a spot, Tracy decided to do something about it.

Here's what Tracy had to say about her decision, via Linda Jager of

And as the old saying goes...'Only the strong will survive.' 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's [sic] 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. Easy decision. 

Lanny is my best friend and my teammate. I see how hard she works on a daily basis, so I know first hand that she is deserving of a spot on the Olympic Team. If I can be the one to give her that opportunity, than that is an honor and a sacrifice that I am willing to make.

Lanny was certainly appreciative of her sister's goodwill:

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Tracy selflessly gave me her spot, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity. It's not every day that you are given a second chance like this. I thought my chance at the Olympics was over, but now I've got a second chance and will do everything I can to bring honor to her and our country in Russia.

It's a tremendous act of kindness from Tracy. After working so hard to get back to the Olympics, she decided to step aside and let her sister make a third straight trip.

Giving up a chance to live out a dream wouldn't be easy for most people.

The two sisters have an unbreakable bond after growing up and training together. It's safe to say that they grew even closer after Tracy's decision to offer up her spot.

Hat tip to Fourth-Place Medal's Jay Busbee for the find.