Siblings Team Up and Face Off for Gold | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 03.09.2004
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Siblings Team Up and Face Off for Gold

Four pairs of brothers and sisters strive to bring seven medals back to Germany. Whether they cheer each other on from the stands, work together or fight like kids growing up depends on the sport.


Lado Fumic takes the lead against his brother Manuel

The Olympics may be all about athletic performance, speed, endurance, agility and strength. But it's also about team spirit and working together to accomplish something truly great. For Manuel Fumic, that means doing whatever he can to hold back the competition so his older brother Lado can charge forward to Olympic triumph.

The Fumic brothers are both mountainbike specialists. Lado was fifth in the Sydney games and third at the European Championships last year. Manuel knows he can afford to give his brother some help bringing gold to the family living room -- last year he won the Under-23 World Championships and he’s still got his best years ahead of him in a sport that didn't debut at the Olympics until 1996.

Dynamic duos

On the track, twin sisters Gabi and Birgit Rockmeier are ready to hand the baton off to each other in the 4X100 meter relay. The freshly crowned world champions can thank a US doping scandal for their recent title, but this year’s relay team also has great medal potential in Athens. Though the world championship title may be slightly tarnished, the sisters know an Olympic medal would put a shine on both their careers.

Markus Dieckmann

Markus Dieckmann (right) and partner Jonas Reckermann have good medal chances

Germany’s other set of twins, Christoph and Markus Diekmann, will be facing off against each other on opposite sides of the beach volleyball net. Until 2000 the two couldn’t be separated, but their path split after failing to qualify for the Sydney games. Markus, the four-minute older brother, teamed up with Jonas Reckermann, while younger Christoph found a new partner in Andreas Scheuerpflug.

Markus and Reckermann have turned out to be the more successful team: they won the European Championships in 2002 and 2004. But in the seldom head-on duels Christoph relies on his nine centimeter advantage to come out ahead. Christoph swiped the German title from his big brother last year. An Olympic rematch would put the twins’ prominent parents -- mom is the mayor of Bonn and dad is North Rhine-Westphalia’s finance minister -- in a tough spot since volleyball never ends in a tie.

Avoiding sibling rivalry

Andreas Dittmer

Defending Olympic champion Andreas Dittmer of Germany

While the Fumic brothers and the Rockmeier and Diekmann twins participate in the same sports, competing with each other and at times lending a helping hand, that's not the case for Germany's other sibling Olympians: Andreas and Anja Dittmer.

The two of them have solid chances to bring home medals to proud parents, but because of event scheduling neither will be able to share the glory of gold with the other. Andreas will be racing the canoe rapids, and Anja will swim, bike and run her way through the triathlon.

Andreas’ chances look better this year, in Atlanta and Sydney he won the 1,000 meter one-man canoe events and no one has beat him in the discipline for the past four years in World or European championships. His sister will have a more difficult time of it – in Sydney she placed 18th – but a World Cup win five weeks ago in Hungary certainly lifted her spirits. Now she knows she can beat anyone in the world – hopefully after her brother paddles his way to gold.