So, we’re finally feeling mega pumped for the Tokyo Olympic Games after Friday night’s opening ceremony. Though low-key and mostly audience free, it still managed to get the internet all of a chatter – and not just for Team Tonga!
Now the sport is underway, an impressive roster of British stars are flying the flag for us. And if having one Olympic hopeful in any family weren’t enough, Team GB has a whopping eight – count them! – pairs of siblings competing this year, mostly in the same events, and among them three sets of twins.
Seven sibling pairs have won medals at past Olympics, so the odds aren’t bad for this lot. Here are the family connections you need to know about in Tokyo.
Athletics: Jodie and Hannah Williams
Event: 4 x 400m relay (both), and 400m individual (Jodie)
What to know: Welwyn Garden City’s Jodie Williams, 27, started off sprinting the 100m and 200m events, and was nicknamed Miss Moneylegs, but sadly missed out on London 2012 after a hamstring tear. These days she competes in the individual 400m, and will also be racing with younger sister Hannah, 23, in the 4 x 400m relay team, with the pair surely hoping for sibling glory.
Athletics: Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember
Event: 100m hurdles
What to know: Despite being born and raised in Michigan, these sisters happily have British passports thanks to their mum and both made the final of the 100m hurdles in Rio in 2016 for Team GB. Cindy, now 26, finished fourth but a year later ruptured her Achilles. She’s now back fighting fit, while her sister Tiffany, 33, is making a comeback of a different sort after becoming a mum in 2019.
Gymnastics: Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova
Event: Artistic Gymnastics
What to know: The 16-year-old Gadirova twins, born in Dublin to Azerbaijani parents, are half of Britain’s four-strong artistic gymnastics team. Just as one twin is always born before another, Jessica had her Olympic spot confirmed an agonising 20 minutes before sister Jennifer got her news. Amazingly, their team-mate Amelie Morgan is a twin, too, while her brother Finlay is also a gymnast.
Cycling: Simon and Adam Yates
Event: Road Race
What to know: The Yates brothers, 28, are also twins and both started cycling as teenagers in Bury. Adam placed fourth in the 2016 Tour De France and though he and Simon have gone separate ways when it comes to their regular cycling teams, they’ll both be sporting the same Team GB jerseys in Tokyo.
Swimming: Joe and Max Litchfield
Event: 200m Medley (Joe), 400m Medley (Max)
What to know: Joe Litchfield, 23, is making his Olympic debut in the pool, and has probably been getting tips from older brother Max, 26, who placed fourth in his own event at Rio in 2016. The Pontefract pair have been compared to fellow Yorkshire men, the Brownlee brothers, who won Triathlon medals in the 2012 and 2016 Games. And when it comes to Tokyo, the Litchfields aren’t the only siblings swimming – Carson and Jake Foster are also competing for the US.
Boxing: Pat and Luke McCormack
Event: Welterweight (Pat) and Lightweight (Luke)
What to know: Some more twins – this time from Sunderland. Brothers Pat and Luke, 26 both qualified for Tokyo in Paris earlier this summer, and have spoken about the “jail craic” of Japanese quarantine keeping them focused for their fights ahead. Team GB has a great track record in boxing with three golds for Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Nicola Adams in London 2012.
Rowing: Tom and Emily Ford
Event: Men’s Eight (Tom) and Women’s Eight (Emily)
What to know: Siblings Tom, 28, and Emily, 26, both started rowing at the same school, captaining their respective boats, and have followed each other through the sport ever since. They admit they are competitive but drive each other on – all the way to Tokyo. As Tom says: “To be going with a sibling makes it even more special because it’s something we’ve both dreamed of growing up.”
Rowing: Mathilda and Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne
Event: Woman’s Quadruple Sculls
What to know: Mathilda, 26, and Charlotte, 24, from Hereford, have also made Team GB’s rowing squad. Charlotte previously said she only got into rowing as the “annoying little sister” copying her older sibling – but it’s obviously worked out for them. “We both want one thing going to Tokyo,” Mathilda told her local paper, “and hopefully we can bring a medal home.” Go, Team GB!