These Twin Olympians Finished a Marathon Holding Hands, and People Are Outraged

From Cosmopolitan

At first, it seems like a beautiful Olympic moment. Lisa and Anna Hahner both made it to the Olympics to represent Germany in the marathon, and though they didn't get close to medaling, they finished holding hands as a symbol of solidarity and family affection. But according to the New York Times, many Germans didn't see it that way.

"The Hahner twins, Lisa and Anna, ended their Olympic marathon race more than 21 minutes behind the winner, more than 15 minutes on their best performance," Thomas Kurschligen, sports director of the German Athletics Federation, told reporters, according to the Telegraph. "It looked as though they completed a fun run and not [an] Olympic [race]." He told the Times that their main goal was "to generate media attention" for themselves, undermining the seriousness of the marathon event.

Lars Wallrodt, a columnist at the German newspaper Die Welt, expressed similar outrage. "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," he wrote, according to "At the Olympics all athletes should go to achieve maximum performance, not the most sympathetic photo opportunity."

The Hahners, who placed 81st and 82nd, said their performance was disappointing and far from their personal bests. But they embraced the ability to finish together, which they assumed was impossible because they had to split up at a certain point. "It was a magical moment that we could finish this marathon together. We did not think about what we were doing," Anna told the Times. "We trained the last four years to participate in this marathon. Neither the time nor the position was what made us happy but to know that we did the best that was possible that day."

They echoed the same sentiment on Instagram, writing, "We can say we gave all we had yesterday. Sometimes it is not that much as you hope it would be. Thanks to all the supporters. That race was so though and both of us were really happy to cross finally the finish line."

To be clear, not everyone criticized the twins' emotional finish. "This is Olympism," Mary Wittenberg, former director of the New York City Marathon, told the Times. "There are moments when it's not all about [winning] and most often, as in the case of the Hahners, it's also because that's not in the cards at a given event. So an athlete makes a conscious decision to make the most of the moment in a different way."

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