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Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics

The Dutch speed skating twins Michel and Ronald Mulder have both qualified for the Sochi Olympics in the 500 m. The two are both medal hopefuls, being ranked 2nd and 5th in this season’s World Cup Standings. Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics is not unique, but still relatively rare.

The first time this happened was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936. The hockey players András and László Gergely both were forwards for the Hungarian team, which ranked 7th. Sixteen years later, twins won the first Winter Olympic medal together. Swedish hockey players Hans and Stig Andersson earned a hockey bronze in 1952. The two were born with surname Andersson, but changed their names to Tvilling before the 1956 Olympics, a name meaning “Twin” in Swedish. We are not entirely sure about the 3rd pair of twins to compete at the Winter Olympics. Sources are unclear on whether František and Steve Tikal are twins or not – they certainly are brothers. Their story is interesting nonetheles, as Steve had fled communist-ruled Czechoslovakia for the West, and represented Australia while his brother still played for their mother country.

The first gold winning twins came in 1964, again in ice hockey, with Soviet twins Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov. After retiring from active sports, Boris became coach of Spartak Moscow, while Yevgeny became the team’s director. The 1964 ice hockey event was the first competition at the winter Olympics with two twins competing, as Geza and Iuliu Szabo also played for Romania. In Sapporo 1972, the first twin sisters first competed. The Firth twins would eventually contest four Olympic Winter Games together. Sharon and Shirley were both members of the Gwich’in First Nation in Canada, and later featured in a CBC documentary called “The Olympians: The Firth Sisters”. The first mixed gender twins entered in 1976, when Christian and Karin Künzle of Switzerland ranked 7th in pairs figure skating.

At the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, the best ever twin performance at the Winter Olympics came in the men’s slalom. Phil Mahre, already a silver medallist in 1980, claimed gold in the Olympic slalom. His twin brother Steve came second (after winning the first run) to produce the first 1-2 for twins in Winter Olympic history. After the Mahres, only one pair of twins has medalled: the Sedins. Henrik and Daniel helped Sweden win the 2006 hockey gold medal, equalling the performance of the Mayorovs. The Sedins have played together on the same team their entire professional career, both now being long time representatives of the Vancouver Canucks. In 1999, they  won the Elitserien Player of the Year together.

The full list of twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics:

  • András and László Gergely (Hungary) – Ice hockey 1936
  • Hans and Stig Andersson-Tvilling (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1952 & 1956
  • František and Steve Tikal (Czechoslovakia & Australia) – Ice hockey 1960 [twins not confirmed]
  • Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov (USSR) – Ice hockey 1964
  • Geza and Iuliu Szabo (Romania) – Ice hockey 1964 & 1968
  • Christer and Thommy Abrahamsson (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1972
  • Sharon and Shirley Firth (Canada) – Cross country skiing 1972 (5 km, relay), 1976 (5 km, 10 km, relay), 1980 (5 km) & 1984 (5 km, 10 km, 20 km)
  • Christian and Karin Künzle (Switzerland) – Figure skating 1976 (pairs)
  • Phil and Steve Mahre (USA) – Alpine skiing 1976 (giant slalom), 1980 (slalom, giant slalom) & 1984 (slalom, giant slalom)
  • Dorota and Małgorzata Tlałka-Mogore (Poland) – Alpine skiing 1984 (slalom)
  • Antonia and Ferdinand Becherer (West Germany) – Figure skating 1988 (pairs)
  • Catarina and Christina Eklund (Sweden) – Biathlon 1994 (7.5 km, 15 km)
  • Dmitry and Stanislav Dubrovsky (Russia) – Nordic combined 1994 (individual)
  • Kenji and Tsugiharu Ogiwara (Japan) – Nordic combined 1998 (individual, team)
  • Melanie and Maureen de Lange (Netherlands) – Short-track speed skating 1998 (relay)
  • Ben and Matt Hindle (Canada) – Bobsleigh 1998 (four-man)
  • François and Maurice Rozenthal (France) – Ice hockey 1998 & 2002
  • Nataliya and Vera Zyatikova (Belarus) – Cross-country skiing 2002 (10 km, 15 km, pursuit, relay)
  • Lanny and Tracy Barnes (USA) – Biathlon 2006 (15 km, relay)
  • Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Sweden) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Julia and Stefanie Marty (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux (USA) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Laura and Sara Benz (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Valj and Vita Semerenko (Ukraine) – Biathlon 2010 (7.5 km, 10 km, 15 km, relay)

Multiple Siblings at the Winter Olympics

The Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters – Chloé, Justine, and Maxime – have qualified for the Canadian 2014 Olympic team in freestyle skiing, specifically in moguls. It appears, barring some unforeseen circumstance, that all three sisters will compete together in freestyle moguls. Has this ever happened before – three siblings competing together in the same Winter Olympic event?

Sorry to disappoint the Dufour-Lapointes, but yes, it has happened before – 5 times, to be precise, but only twice before in individual events.

The first time it happened in an individual event was 1960 in women’s slalom Alpine skiing when the French Leduc sisters (Anne-Marie, Marguerite, Thérèse) all competed together. The next time was in 1976 in men’s 15 km cross-country skiing, when Argentina’s Jerman brothers all competed (Marcos Luis, Martín Tomás, Matías José). But the Dufour-Lapointes can realize that it has been 38 years since this occurred at the Winter Olympics.

The three times it has happened in team events were in 1980 ice hockey when the Šťastný brothers (Anton, Marián, Peter) competed for Czechoslovakia; in the 1988 2-man bobsled when Mexican bobsledders Jorge Tamés and José Tamés made up one Mexican team, and their brothers, Luis Adrián Tamés and Roberto Tamés made up the other Mexican team; and in the 2010 ice dancing event with Chris, Cathy, and Allison Reed, with Chris and Cathy competing for Japan, and Allison for Georgia.

In all, we can trace 19 families who have had 3 or more siblings compete at the Winter Olympics, although in most cases, not in the same event. This group is led by Spain’s Fernández Ochoa siblings (3 brothers, 2 sisters), with 5 siblings. There have been 5 cases of 4 siblings competing at the Winter Olympics, and 13 cases of 3 siblings from the same family.

Below is what we think is the entire list. Now, if you know of others, let us know, because we will admit that this is a difficult query that challenges even our extensive databases. But we think this is complete.


Winter Games – 5 Siblings (1)

Francisco Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Juan Manuel Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Luis Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Blanca Fernández Ochoa (F/ESP-ASK)

Dolores Fernández Ochoa (F/ESP-ASK)


Winter Games – 4 Siblings (5)

Carolina Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Ignacio Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Magdalena Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Jorge Birkner (M/ARG-ASK)


Barbara Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Lindy Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Marilyn Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Bob Cochran (M/USA-ASK)


Arnold Huber (M/ITA-LUG)

Günther Huber (M/ITA-BOB)

Norbert Huber (M/ITA-LUG)

Wilfried Huber (M/ITA-LUG)


Jorge Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

José Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

Luis Adrián Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

Roberto Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)


Józef Pawlusiak (M/POL-NCO)

Stanisław Pawlusiak (M/POL-SKJ)

Tadeusz Pawlusiak (M/POL-SKJ)

Anna Pawlusiak (F/POL-CCS)


Winter Games – 3 Siblings (13)

Anne-Marie Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)

Marguerite Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)

Thérèse Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)


Evi Mittermaier (F/FRG-ASK)

Heidi Mittermaier (F/GER-ASK)

Rosi Mittermaier (F/FRG-ASK)


Gordy Christian (M/USA-ICH)

Rog Christian (M/USA-ICH)

Billy Christian (M/USA-ICH)


Denis Couttet (M/FRA-CCS)

Henri Couttet (M/FRA-ICH)

Marcel Couttet (M/FRA-ICH)


Dieter Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)

Walter Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)

Werner Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)


Jim Holland (M/USA-SKJ)

Joe Holland (M/USA-NCO)

Mike Holland (M/USA-SKJ)


Marcos Luis Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)

Martín Tomás Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)

Matías José Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)


Asbjørn Ruud (M/NOR-SKJ)

Birger Ruud (M/NOR-ASK/SKJ)

Sigmund Ruud (M/NOR-ASK/SKJ)


Cristian Simari Birkner (M/ARG-ASK)

Macarena Simari Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

María Belén Simari Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)


Anton Šťastný (M/TCH-ICH)

Marián Šťastný (M/TCH-ICH)

Peter Šťastný (M/SVK/TCH-ICH)


Curtis Stevens (M/USA-BOB)

Paul Stevens (M/USA-BOB)

Hubert Stevens (M/USA-BOB)


Jukka Ylipulli (M/FIN-NCO)

Raimo Ylipulli (M/FIN-SKJ)

Tuomo Ylipulli (M/FIN-SKJ)


Cathy Reed (F-JPN-FSK)

Chris Reed (M-JPN-FSK)

Allison Reed (F-GEO-FSK)


Doping cases at the Winter Olympics

While there have been far more doping incidents at the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games have seen its fair share of scandals around performance enhancing drugs. We’ll take you through all of them.

Sapporo 1972

The first doping incident at the Winter Olympics was in 1972. West German ice hockey player Alois Schloder tested positive for ephedrine. The team doctor, Franz Schlickenrieder, first declared having no part of this, and Schloder was suspended. After returning home, it was finally found that one of the medicines he had been given by Schlickenrieder did contain ephedrine. Schloder’s name was finally cleared, and in 1976 he won a bronze medal at the Innsbruck Olympics.

Innsbruck 1976

At these Games, two medallists were caught. The first was Galina Kulakova. A three-time gold medallist in Sapporo, she finished third in the 5 km event, but tested positive for ephedrine. As this was contained in a nasal spray she had used just before the start, the IOC disqualified her for the event, but allowed her to compete in the remaining events, in which she won bronze and gold. Ice hockey player František Pospíšil played on the silver medal winning Czechoslovakian team. After the match against Poland (won 7-1), he was found to have used codeine, as part of a flu medicine. Like with Kulakova, he was allowed to continue to play in other matches, but the result against Poland was annulled.

Sarajevo 1984

The fourth doping case in Winter Olympic history was rather low profile. Mongolian cross country skier Pürevjavyn Batsükh had solidly placed in the bottom part of the field in three events before it was found that he had used methandienone, an anabolic steroid.

 Calgary 1988

The sole doping case reported in 1988 was also of little influence. The blood of Jarosław Morawiecki, a Polish hockey player, showed use of testosterone after the match against France. Morawiecki claimed it had been in the borshch that he had eaten. While still maintaining his innocence, immediately after his return from an 18-month suspension, he was suspended again for high testosterone.

Nagano 1998

After two Winter Olympics without doping cases, one of the most famous ones occurred in Nagano. Snowboarding, a new sport at these Olympics, saw its first Olympic Champion, Ross Rebagliati disqualified for marijuana traces found in his urine. The Canadian claimed it had been from second-hand smoke, and he protested the decision. Because marijuana was not found to be performance enhancing, the protest was upheld, and the gold medal was returned to Rebagliati. In 2013, Rebagliati opened a medical marijuana business.

Salt Lake City 2002

Doping-wise, the Salt Lake City Olympics meant a new low for the Winter Games. After it had become commonplace in professional cycling, the drug EPO now was popular with cross country skiers. Johann Mühlegg, a German skier competing for Spain had already won the 30 km and pursuit events before it was published that traces of EPO had been found in an out-of-competition test, after which he also won the 50 km race. While disqualified from that event immediately, he only lost his first two golds almost two years after the closing ceremony, following a lengthy case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The same fate befell two Russian cross-country stars, Olga Danilova  and Larisa Lazutina. They too had been caught out-of-competition, but it took over a year for their results to be finally cleared. Danilova had been 2nd in the 10 km and 1st in the pursuit, while Lazutina, a 5-time Olympic Champion already, had won silver in the pursuit and gold in the 15 km and 30 km.

Another medallist that fell victim to a doping suspension was Alain Baxter. On the last day of the Games, he had become the first British athlete to win a medal on snow (as opposed to ice), coming third in the slalom event. He had been unlucky enough to buy a nasal decongestant in Utah that contained methamphetamine, while the European version of the same drug was free of the substance. While he only served a short suspension, he did lose his Olympic medal.

Amid this flurry of disqualified medallists, it was hardly noticed that Vasily Pankov, a Belarussian hockey player, was also disqualified. He had been caught using nandrolone in the (lost) bronze medal match against Russia.

Several months after the Games, two Austrian cross-country skiers, Achim Walcher ] and Marc Mayer were also disqualified. While they had not been in medal contention, the IOC disqualified them for the use of blood transfusion equipment. The Austrians claimed this had been for therapeutic use, but the IOC ruled that any form of blood manipulation constitutes blood doping.

Torino 2006

Even more athletes than Salt Lake City were involved in doping irregularities in 2006, in part due to the more extensive program of out-of-competition testing. Shortly before and right after the start of the Games, a total of 12 cross country skiers received five-day starting bans after they had high hematocrit values in their blood. These can be indicative of EPO use, but all were cleared to compete afterwards. Their names:

  • Alen Abramović
  • Sean Crooks
  • Sergey Dolidovich
  • Jean-Marc Gaillard
  • Pavel Korostelev
  • Aleksandr Lazutkin
  • Nataliya Matveyeva
  • Nikolay Pankratov
  • Kikkan Randall
  • Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle
  • Robel Teklemariam
  • Leif Zimmerman (did not compete)

During an incursion in the second week of the game, four Austrian cross country skiers and two biathletes were found to be taking part in an involved blood doping schema. As with Walcher and Mayer it took some time for them to be officially disqualified. The best result of the six had been a fourth place by Wolfgang Perner in the biathlon 10 km. The disqualified athletes further included:

  • Roland Diethart
  • Johannes Eder
  • Jürgen Pinter
  • Wolfgang Rottmann
  • Martin Tauber

The only Torino competitor actually caught after a competition was Russian biathlete Olga Pylyova. After finishing second in the 15 km, she was found to have used carphedon, a stimulant.

Other Olympic hopefuls saw their participation thwarted due to infringements prior to the Olympics. Brazilian bobsledder and ex hammer thrower Armando dos Santos was sent home from the Games after the results from a test in January came in. The Australians, who had missed qualification due to Dos Santos’s team, unsuccessfully sued to be included in the Games instead.

Three more athletes missed the Games because they tried to combat hair loss. Their medicine all contained the forbidden substance finasteride.  US slider Zach Lund, Monegasque bobsledder Sébastien Gattuso and Canadian hockey goalie José Theodore all missed the Games, receiving their suspension in the week before the Games – in Lund’s case even on the day of the opening ceremony.

Vancouver 2010

After the high numbers of doping cases in 2002 and 2006, the IOC and WADA tried to catch as many athletes as possible before the Games. This seemed to have an effect as only two cases were reported. Russian hockey player Svetlana Terentyeva was reprimanded after an out-of-competition test showed presence of tuaminoheptane. As this is only prohibited in competition, she did not receive a suspension.

Kornelia Marek, a Polish cross country skier who had seen top 10 performances in Vancouver became the only athlete to be disqualified, having used rEPO.

US Winter / Summer Olympians

We think that Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams will be chosen for the Sochi 2014 US Olympic bobsled team tonite. We had a post the other day about Winter / Summer Olympians (see here), in which we noted that this has occurred 128 times in the past – 23 women and 105 men.

So how often has it occurred for United States Olympians? Previously 8 times, as follows:

USA Winter / Summer Olympians

Athlete                                              Gdr Summer                          Winter

Connie Carpenter-Phinney  F     CYC-1984                        SSK-1972

Connie Paraskevin-Young     F     CYC-1988/92/96        SSK-1984

Chris Witty                                    F     CYC-2000                        SSK-1994-06

Eddie Eagan                                  M    BOX-1920/24               BOB-1932

Art Longsjo, Jr.                            M    CYC-1956                        SSK-1956

Arnold Uhrlass                           M    CYC-1964                         SSK-1960

Willie Davenport                      M    ATH-1964/68/72/76  BOB-1980

David Gilman                              M    CAN-1976/84                 LUG-1984

Could it be 10 after tonite? Well, not technically – they actually have to compete first for it to count as a Summer / Winter Olympian, so that will be a few weeks away. But Lolo Jones competed in track & field athletics (high hurdles) at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, and Lauryn Williams competed in athletics (100 metres and 4×100 relay) at London in 2012, so its likely they will soon be added to the above list.

Perfect Ski Jumping Scores

In 1998 at Nagano, Japanese ski jumper Kazuyoshi Funaki took off on his second jump on the large hill, and did something that had never been done before at the Olympics. Funaki was given a set of five marks of 20.0 for style points. This had only been achieved once before in international competition, by Austrian Toni Innauer in a ski flying meet at Oberstdorf, Germany in March 1976.

Since Funaki’s jump, only three other jumpers have been given a perfect set of 20.0 style points in any international event – Sven Hannawald (GER) and Hideharu Miyahira (JPN) in the same World Cup large hill event at Willingen in February 2003, and Austrian Wolfgang Loitzl in the Four Hills tournament at Bischofen in January 2009.

At the Olympics, two others jumpers have been awarded three scores of 20.0 for a single jump, both achieving a style score of 59.5 – Norwegian Espen Bredesen in 1994 on the normal hill, and Austrian Andreas Kofler on the large hill in 2006.

Funaki actually was given perfect 20s a total of 9 times at the Winter Olympics – his perfect jump in 1998, with 5 20s, his first jump on the normal hill also in 1998, and his first jump on the large hill in 1998, both with 2 20s and style scores of 59.0. Bredesen was the recipient of perfect scores 6 times – with two 20s given to him in the 1994 team event, and a single 20 on his second jump on the large hill in 1994.

Other jumpers who were awarded perfect 20s multiple times include Finland’s Janne Ahonen with 3 20s, Japan’s Noriaki Kasai with 3 20s, and Kofler, who was given a 4th 20 in the 2006 large hill qualifying round. Kasai, incidentally, has competed at 6 Winter Olympics in ski jumping, and is still competing and having his best season, winning a ski flying event in January 2014. He will be in Sochi, barring some unforeseen problem, and will set a record by appearing in his 7th Winter Olympics. This mark will also probably be achieved by Russian luger Albert Demchenko.

The entire list of perfect 20.0 style scores given at the Winter Olympics follows. This has been done 21 times, with 34 perfect 20.0 scores awarded.

5-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98LHJ2) (60.0/20,20,20,20,20)

3-20.0 Espen Bredesen (NOR,94NHJ1) (59.5/19.5,19.5,20,20,20)

3-20.0 Andreas Kofler (AUT,06LHJ1) (59.5/20,19.5,20,20,19.5)

2-20.0 Espen Bredesen (NOR,94TmJ2) (59.0/19.5,19.5,20,19.5,20)

2-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98NHJ1) (59.0/20,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)

2-20.0 Noriaki Kasai (JPN,98NHJ2) (59.0/19.5,20,19.5,20,19)

2-20.0 Andreas Widhölzl (AUT,98LHJ1) (59.0/20,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)

2-20.0 Kazuyoshi Funaki (JPN,98LHJ1) (59.0/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,20)

1-20.0 Noriaki Kasai (JPN,94NHJ1) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)

1-20.0 Esp. Bredesen (NOR,94LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,19.5,19.5,20)

1-20.0 Andi Goldberger (AUT,94TmJ2) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)

1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,98NHJ2) (58.5/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)

1-20.0 Masahiko Harada (JPN,98NHJ2) (58.5/19,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)

1-20.0 Andre. Widhölzl (AUT,98LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,20,19.5,19.5,19.5)

1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,98TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,19.5,20,19.5)

1-20.0 Simon Ammann (SUI,02TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19,19.5)

1-20.0 Ths. Morgenstern (AUT,06LHJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19,19.5)

1-20.0 Janne Ahonen (FIN,02NHJ2) (57.5/19.5,19,19,20,19)

1-20.0 Adam Małysz (POL,02NHJ2) (57.5/19,19,19,20,19.5)

1-20.0 Andreas Kofler (AUT,06LHQR) (58.5/19.5,19,19.5,19.5,20)

1-20.0 Roar Ljøkelsøy (NOR,06TmJ2) (58.5/19.5,19.5,20,19.5,19.5)

Note that most of these scores were given in 1994 and 1998 – the judges seem to have tightened up a bit, and no scores of 20.0 were given at Vancouver in 2010.

So does getting perfect style points guarantee you a victory or a medal? Not necessarily but it helps. In the above list Funaki won gold on the large hill in 1998 and Bredesen won the normal hill gold in 1994. But Andreas Kofler in 2006 lost out to his teammate, Thomas Morgenstern, and won “only” a silver medal. Janne Ahonen won two team silver medals, but his perfect scores never garnered him an individual medal. Kasai likewise never won an individual medal, his best finish a 5th on normal hill in 1994, but did get a silver in the 1994 team event.

We’ll have to see if the ski jumping judges in Sochi are tight or generous with their style points.

Speed Skaters in Multiple Events

In 1980 Eric Heiden stunned the Olympic and speedskating world by winning five gold medals in the five speedskating events then on the Olympic Program – 500, 1000, 1500, 5 and 10K. With skaters becoming more and more specialized as sprinters or distance skaters, this will never occur again. In fact, it has been fairly rare for any skater to skate in all the five individual events on the program – man or woman. It has not happened since 1988 for men and 1994 for women. More recently, it is uncommon for the specialist skaters to enter 4 of the 5 individual events. Following are the skaters to have entered the 5 individual events since 1980, or 4 individual events since 1998.

Year      Name                                                    #IndEvents


1980      Eric Heiden (USA)                                                        5

1980      Pertti Niittylä (FIN)                                                     5

1980      Hilbert van der Duim (NED)                                  5

1984      Michael Hadschieff (AUT)                                       5

1984      Lee Yeong-Ha (KOR)                                                   5

1984      Hans van Helden (FRA)                                             5

1988      Michael Hadschieff (AUT)                                       5

1988      Hans van Helden (FRA)                                             5

1998      KC Boutiette (USA)                                                      4

2006      Chad Hedrick (USA)                                                     4

2010      Shani Davis (USA)                                                          4

2010      Håvard Bøkko (NOR)                                                   4



1988      Han Chun-Ok (PRK)                                                      5

1988      Seiko Hashimoto (JPN)                                                5

1988      Ariane Loignon (CAN)                                                  5

1988      Andrea Ehrig-Schöne-Mitscherlich (GDR)      5

1988      Erwina Ryś-Ferens (POL)                                           5

1992      Mihaela Dascălu (ROU)                                               5

1992      Seiko Hashimoto (JPN)                                                5

1992      Cerasela Hordobeţiu (ROU)                                      5

1994      Emese Dörfler-Antal (AUT)                                       5

1994      Cerasela Hordobeţiu (ROU)                                      5

1998      Emese Nemeth-Hunyady (AUT)                             4

1998      Jennifer Rodriguez (USA)                                           4

2002      Cindy Klassen (CAN)                                                     4

2002      Maki Tabata (JPN)                                                           4

2002      Varvara Barysheva (RUS)                                            4

2002      Anni Friesinger-Postma (GER)                                  4

2006      Cindy Klassen (CAN)                                                      4

2006      Kristina Groves (CAN)                                                   4

2006      Katarzyna Wójcicka-Bachleda-Curuś (POL)    4

2006      Maki Tabata (JPN)                                                            4

2010      Kristina Groves (CAN)                                                   4

In the above note that Seiko Hashimoto has done this twice (as have 4 other women and 2 men). Hashimoto is interesting as she has competed in more Olympics than any other Winter Olympian, with 7, even though the record for appearances at the Winter Olympics is 6. Hashimoto competed in speed skating in 1984/88/1992/1994 and in cycling at the Summer Olympics in 1988/1992/1994.

In all these are how many skaters have competed in all available individual events at the Winter Olympics:

Men    IndEvents     Women    IndEvents

1924           11                  4                  —                  —

1928           —    (no full startlist for 10K available)

1932             8                   4                  —                  —

1936           17                  4                  —                  —

1948           12                  4                  —                  —

1952             7                   4                  —                  —

1956           10                  4                  —                  —

1960           11                  4                  13                    4

1964             6                  4                  13                    4

1968             8                  4                  11                    4

1972             7                  4                     5                    4

1976             2                  5                     8                    4

1980             3                  5                  11                    4

1984             3                  5                     8                    4

1988             2                  5                     5                    5

1992             0                  5                     3                    5

1994             0                  5                     2                    5

1998             0                  5                     0                    5

2002             0                  5                     0                    5

2006             0                  5                     0                    5

2010             0                  5                     0                    5

So you can see how rare this has become. Nobody will compete in all 5 individual events at Sochi. The speed skaters have become too specialized, with most of them either sprinters, such as Korean female Lee Sang-Hwa, or distance specialists, such as Dutchman Sven Kramer, or in the case of Shani Davis, a mid-distance specialist.

Olympians with a disability – Part Two

Part two in a series on people who have competed at the Olympic Games despite suffering from a physical disability.

Lis Hartel (DEN) – Equestrianism
2 silvers

In the 1930s Lis Hartel was coached by her mother Else Holst, but when she reached a national competitive level, Gunnar Andersen, a professional horseman, took over. In the early part of her career she competed in both jumping and dressage, and was Danish champion in dressage in 1943 and 1944. Later in 1944, she was struck by polio. At that time she was pregnant with her second child, and no one thought that she ever would be able to compete on horseback again. But through her determination and strong will she gradually regained function in most of her muscles, although she remained paralyzed below her knees for the rest of her life.

In 1947 she started to compete in dressage again, and she improved her dressage skill together with her excellent horse Jubilee and was selected for the Danish team in the 1952 games. Although she needed help to get on and off her horse, she surprised everybody by winning the silver medal in the dressage competition in Helsinki. Four years later she won another dressage silver medal at the Equestrian Games in Stockholm, also this time together with her favourite horse Jubilee. She won the unofficial world championships in dressage in 1954, and was Danish champion in dressage in 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1959, the last time with a new horse, Limelight.

Lis Hartel’s equestrian achievements caught interest among ordinary sport interested people in Scandinavia, where equestrian among many was regarded as an upper-class sport. She was a charming and charismatic woman, extremely popular not only among followers of equestrians, but also among people outside the horse circles. She also became a role model of other victims of polio, showing what was possible to achieve through training and determination. She was invited to do dressage exhibitions in several countries in Western Europe, and raised funds for treatment of polio victims. In Doorn in the Netherlands, a centre for disabled was named after her, the Lis Hartel Foundation.

Natalia Partyka (POL) – Table tennis
Natalia Partyka was born without a right hand or forearm. She began to play table tennis at the age of seven and four years competed in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. At eleven years of age, she became the youngest Paralympian in history. By 2004 she was clearly the Paralympic table tennis player and began to make an impact in able bodied competition by winning the European Cadets title. Partyka has gone on to win three consecutive Paralympic titles, compete in both the Beijing and London Olympics and win medals at the able bodied European Championships.

Paola Fantato (ITA) – Archery
At age 8, Paola Fantato was diagnosed with polio, and has been wheelchair-bound since. She picked up archery in her twenties, and quickly became quite successful at archery events for disabled. She won a Paralympic bronze medal in 1988, upgrading that to gold in 1992. She was then invited to join the Italian Olympic team and qualified for the Atlanta Games. While eliminated in the first round, she became the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics in the same year, winning team gold and an individual bronze. Her successes have only increased, adding two golds in Sydney and one in Athens, as well as two world titles to her tally.

Jack Dearlove (GBR) – Rowing
1 silver
Jack Dearlove was 12 years old when he lost the lower part of his leg. He was hitching a lift to cricket practice on a friend’s bicycle when the wheels of the bike stuck in some tram lines. The two boys were thrown into the path of a steam wagon and his friend was killed outright. By the time of the London Olympics of 1948 Dearlove had twenty years’ experience as a coxswain which included steering the Thames Rowing Club to a victory at the Henley Regatta. He refused to wear an artificial leg, walking with the aid of crutches instead, and this proved problematic for the British Olympic Association who forbade him for taking part in the opening ceremony of the London Games.
Dearlove went on to have a successful career in business with the Sainsbury’s organization. His son, Sir Richard Dearlove, served as head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1999 to 2004.

Individual Medal Sweeps

We described yesterday how nations have swept the medals at various Winter Olympic events. An individual can never do that at one Olympics, obviously (although see below re Beckie Scott), but an individual medal sweep is possible, if an athlete can win a full set of Olympic medals – gold, silver, and bronze.

Now this is not so uncommon, but it is rare when an athlete achieved an individual medal sweep in the same individual event. In fact, it has only happened 10 times at the Winter Olympics, as follows:

Athlete                                              Gdr   NOC   Sport  Event              Meds

Claudia Pechstein                             F      GER   SSK    5K               3/1/1 – 5

Silke Kraushaar                                  F      GER   LUG   Singles      1/1/1 – 3

Karin Enke-Kania                              F      GDR  SSK    500 m        1/1/1 – 3

Claudia Pechstein                             F      GER   SSK    3K               1/1/1 – 3

Christa Rothenburger-Luding   F      GER   SSK    500 m       1/1/1 – 3

Kari Traa                                                 F      NOR   FRS    Moguls    1/1/1 – 3

Armin Zöggeler                                 M     ITA      LUG    Singles     2/1/2 – 5

Knut Johannesen                             M     NOR   SSK    10K            1/1/1 – 3

Ådne Søndrål                                     M      NOR   SSK    1,500 m   1/1/1 – 3

Bob de Jong                                        M     NED    SSK    10K            1/1/1 – 3

Note that German Claudia Pechstein has actually done this twice, in the 3,000 and 5,000 metres speedskating events, with 5 medals in the 5,000. Italian luger Armin Zöggeler has also won 5 medals in one individual event, in men’s singles luge.

Pechstein’s record would likely be more impressive except that she missed the 2010 Winter Olympics because of a suspension due to suspicion of blood doping due to abnormal reticulocytes in her blood sample. She returned in 2011 and continues to compete and should be in Sochi. In 2013 she won bronze medals in both the 3,000 and 5,000 at the World Single-Distance World Championships, so she could certainly extend these records. She also won bronze medals in the 5K at that tournament in both 2011 and 2012, making her a strong threat to medal in the 5K in Sochi.

Five athletes have won 5 Olympic medals in the same event at the Winter Olympics. In addition to Pechstein and Zöggeler, this has been done by the following:

Ricco Groß                     M   GER   Biathlon               Relay           4/1/0 – 5

Georg Hackl                  M   GER   Luge                        Singles        3/2/0 – 5

Harri Kirvesniemi      M   FIN     X-Country Ski   Relay           0/0/5 – 5

Kirvesniemi is the only Olympian to win 5 bronze medals in the same event, Winter or Summer. Except for Pechstein, all are long since retired and will not be winning a sixth medal. But if Pechstein can win a medal in the 5,000 metres at Sochi it would give her 6 medals in the same event, which would be a new best for the Winter Olympics, and equal the record for the Summer Olympics.

Both Aládar Gerevich (HUN) in fencing team sabre and Hans Günter Winkler (FRG) in equestrian team jumping won 6 medals in the same event. Gerevich’s performance is even more remarkable because all of his medals were gold medals.

If she can win a 6th medal in the 5K, Pechstein’s performance would surely outshine Gerevich and Winkler, because hers would be in an individual event.

There is also the unique case of Canada’s Beckie Scott, who can claim a full set of medals from the same event at the same time. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Scott finished third in the pursuit race, behind Russians Olga Danilova and Larisa Lazutina. But both Russians then tested positive for PEDs after the 30 km race, however, they were allowed to initially keep their medals for the pursuit. It was then revealed, however, that Lazutina had tested positive twice at World Cup events prior to Salt Lake City, so she was disqualified from all 2002 Winter Olympic events and Scott moved up to the silver medal. The Canadian Olympic Committee then appealed against Danilova, stating that she should be disqualified from all Olympic events if she tested positive in any event at the Olympics. This was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Scott then was moved up to the gold medal position, receiving her gold medal on 25 June 2004.

Now in team events, it is much more common to win a full set of Olympic medals in the same event. Here are the 23 Winter Olympians who have done that – 10 women and 13 men:

Name                                      Gdr   NOC  Sport                      Event     Meds

Galina Kulakova                    F     URS   X-Country Ski   Relay     2/1/1 – 4

Angela Ruggiero                    F     USA   Ice Hockey          —            1/2/1 – 4

Jenny Schmidgall-Potter  F     USA   Ice Hockey          —            1/2/1 – 4

Kati Wilhelm                            F     GER   Biathlon              Relay     1/1/1 – 3

Andrea Henkel                       F     GER   Biathlon               Relay     1/1/1 – 3

Albina Akhatova                   F      RUS  Biathlon                Relay     1/1/1 – 3

Alevtina Kolchina                 F      URS  X-Country Ski   Relay     1/1/1 – 3

Marina Klimova                    F      EUN  Figure Skating  Dance   1/1/1 – 3

Tricia Dunn-Luoma             F      USA  Ice Hockey           —           1/1/1 – 3

Katie King                                 F     USA  Ice Hockey           —            1/1/1 – 3

Igor Kravchuk                       M     RUS  Ice Hockey           —            2/1/1 – 4

Jan Behrendt                         M    GER  Luge                        Doubl.   2/1/1 – 4

Stefan Krauße                      M     GER  Luge                        Doubl.   2/1/1 – 4

Wolfgang Hoppe                M     GER  Bobsledding       Four        1/2/1 – 4

Fritz Fischer                          M     GER  Biathlon                Relay      1/1/1 – 3

Eugenio Monti                     M     ITA    Bobsledding        Four        1/1/1 – 3

Eugenio Monti                     M     ITA    Bobsledding        Two         1/1/1 – 3

Markus Zimmermann     M     GER  Bobsledding        Two         1/1/1 – 3

Eero Mäntyranta               M     FIN    X-Country Ski     Relay      1/1/1 – 3

Sergey Ponomarenko      M    EUN  Figure Skating    Dance    1/1/1 – 3

Darius Kasparaitis             M    RUS  Ice Hockey             —            1/1/1 – 3

Aleksey Zhamnov              M    RUS  Ice Hockey             —            1/1/1 – 3

Hannu Manninen               M    FIN    Nordic Comb.     Team      1/1/1 – 3

Note that Eugenio Monti has done this twice, in two-man and four-man bobsledding.

Are any 2014 Olympians in position to achieve an individual medal sweep in an individual event? There are a few who could do this, but the biggest threats are Marlies Schild, Austrian alpine skiier who has a silver and a bronze medal in women’s slalom; and Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Norwegian biathlete who has a gold and a silver in the biathlon pursuit, and needs only a bronze to complete his medal sweep. Schild needs a gold medal in slalom, but she has already won 2 World Cup slaloms in December 2013, and she was the World Cup slalom champion in the last 2 seasons.

Bjørndalen’s is looking after bigger game. If he wins any medal in Sochi, it will give him 12 Winter Olympic medals, tying Bjørn Dæhlie’s Winter Olympic record for most medals won. Can he do it? Can he complete the medal sweep in biathlon pursuit? Can Pechstein win a sixth Olympic medal in the 5,000 metre speedskating? Stay tuned.