Familiar Rivalries: the biathlon siblings

The Oeberg sisters

The young sisters from Sweden have taken over the biathlon World Cup by storm. Hanna Oeberg won her Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang 2018 when Elvira was still competing at the Youth World Championships in Otepaeae where she won three gold medals! However, it is now the younger sister who took home two personal Olympic medals and the U25 World Cup Award, as well as finishing ahead of Hanna in the Total Score.

I think we have come to a point where I know she (Elvira) is really good and it’s not me who’s bad. I think we make each other good and we also help each other. I think it is a teamwork, says Hanna about the rivalry between the sisters.

The Fourcade brothers

There is no need for an introduction to Martin Fourcade and his older brother, Simon. However, it is a common thing to be distracted by the immense records that Martin broke and forget that back in 2012, Simon was the established athlete, winning a discipline globe and World Championships medals. But when your younger brother becomes the king of the sport, it must have some effect on you as well. We spoke to Simon Fourcade in December 2021, the older brother of Martin Fourcade and his long-time rivalry.

It is never easy to be the older sibling and lose to your younger brother or sister. The feelings are mixed. Of course, you are happy about your younger brother’s success. On the other hand, as a top athlete, you want to be the one that is the more successful, he said.

The Boe brothers

Brotherly rivalries seem to be home in Norway: from Ole Einar Bjoerndalen had a brother, Dag, who took a World Cup podium in his career, to the Andersen brothers competing for a spot in the team in the past years. But obviously, the most famous pair is the one made by the Boe’s. In 2020 we sat down with Johannes in an interview and touched on the subject of competing with his older brother Tarjei.

Without him I wouldn’t know biathlon. After my 15th birthday I decided to follow him even more after seeing his results and seeing how close he was to the top level. At that age I was beating his records, so I thought let’s give it a try.

The Semerenko sisters

Vita and Valentina Semerenko are not only sisters but twins! Since the season 2008/2009, they have been taking podiums in the World Cup as well as been a part of the strong Ukrainian relay team. In 2020, when the Ukrainian women’s team won the World Championships bronze, it was Valya who decided to sit out and cheer for her sister and the rest of the team from the side of the track.

I know our team was strong and I wanted them to have a medal. Truly, when the girls were awarded, I felt like a 5th person with them. If I could, I would have also walked to the podium, she told.

The Eckhoffs

Tiril Eckhoff is no stranger to biathlon fans but did you know she also has an older brother, Stian? Even though they did not compete in the World Cup at the same time they shared a similar breakthrough as they both won their first World Cup in Oestersund. Since retiring from his athlete career, Stian has worked as a coach, including a few years next to his sister on the Norwegian women’s team.

Sometimes it is really good to have your brother (in the team) but sometimes it is like hell. It is my brother and we kind of fight sometimes, Tiril said in an interview in 2017 when asked about being in a same team as her brother.

Photo: Manzoni/IBU / Tumashov/IBU

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