When Hanna Oberg won a gold medal in the biathlon for Sweden in 2018, it was the first for the country’s women in 12 years. She seemed to establish herself as her nation’s best hope for more medals in the years to come.
Then her younger sister came along.
Elvira Oberg, 22, won her first World Cup event in December and has since won two more. She seemed to be peaking at the right time for a top performance in Beijing. That’s not to knock Hanna, 26, who is far from done herself.
On Monday, they competed in the individual event, a roughly nine-mile time trial. While they were expected to be in the mix for at least a medal, both fell short. Elvira finished in 13th place, and Hanna finished behind her in 16th place.
The sisters started their 2022 Olympics as the female half of the mixed relay. Although Sweden was the only contending team not to have to ski a penalty loop, it finished a disappointing fourth, a result scrutinized by the Swedish press, which has been buzzing about the sisters.
Hanna admitted to nerves: “It was actually a long time since I was so nervous; I was not prepared for that,” she told Aftonbladet, adding, “The hours before the start, I was really nervous and even had a hard time eating my lunch. So it wasn’t optimal.”
There is a long tradition of the Olympics being a family affair, starting with the Paine brothers, who finished one-two for the United States in the military pistol shooting event in the first Games in 1896.
If you want to go back further, legend has it that the ancient Games began when Herakles and four of his brothers raced one another in suits of armor. (The authenticity of this race could not be definitively confirmed at press time.)
The roster of Olympic greats includes many siblings: the Schultz brothers of wrestling; Al and Jackie Joyner; Cheryl and Reggie Miller; Pau and Marc Gasol; Venus and Serena Williams; and the Brownlees of triathlon all were medalists.
In the Winter Games, Eric and Beth Heiden, the Duchesnays of ice dancing and the skiing Kostelics are well remembered.
There were three sets of sibling medalists four years ago. Shaolin Sandor Liu and Shaoang Liu of Hungary teamed for gold in the short-track speedskating relay. The ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani of the United States won a bronze in the team competition. And Tarjei and Johannes Bo of Norway teamed for silver in the biathlon relay, with Johannes winning individual medals as well.