Rio Olympics 2016 athletes—and twins—Anna and Lisa Hahner spontaneously decided to hold hands as they crossed the finish line in the women’s marathon Sunday, but were met with criticism for their show of unity.
Track and field officials working for Germany said they were seeking attention and said the race shouldn’t have been treated “like a fun run.”
“Victory and medals are not the only goal,” Thomas Kurschilgen, sports director of the German Athletics Federation, told The New York Times. “Still, every athlete in the Olympic competitions should be motivated to demonstrate his or her best performance and aim for the best possible result.”
“Their main aim was to generate media attention,” he said. “That is what we criticize.”
The sisters placed 81st and 82nd in the marathon, said they didn’t imagine they would finish together.
In an email to the paper, Anna said they’ve always split in the past.
“In all the marathons we ran together before, there was a point in the race we had to split up,” Anna wrote. “This was also the case in the Olympic marathon. But then I realized I couldn’t run this pace, and I had to let [the pack] go. Lisa was always not far from me. After 40 kilometers, there was a turning point, and I knew, ‘Okay Anna, two kilometers to go to close the gap to Lisa.’ I invested all I had and 300 meters before the finish line, I was next to Lisa. It was a magical moment that we could finish this marathon together. We did not think about what we were doing.”
The girls trained for the last four years for the race, and said they did the best they possibly could on Sunday.
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