Team GB’s twin brothers and sisters spoke yesterday of the unbreakable bond which helped them all the way to the Olympics.
Gymnasts Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are only 16 but have made a “dream come true” as they compete in Tokyo against US legend Simone Biles.
Boxers Pat and Luke McCormack, 26, are also side-by-side on the biggest sporting adventure of their lives.
There are eight sets of siblings in the British team – more than ever before – with another set of twins in cyclists Adam and Simon Yates.
Telling of the joy of embarking on their Olympic adventure together, Jennifer said: “Most athletes at high performance level can feel quite isolated. We can boost each other in training.
“We are lucky to have each other here. It helps when we are feeling down.”
Jessica added: “It is just nice having your sister there. She can pick me up and help me be as good as I can be.
“We’re getting excited but nervous. It’s surreal we’re here and about to compete in the Olympics. It’s still sinking in.”
The sisters, of Azerbaijani heritage, were brought up in Coventry before moving closer to their training HQ in Aylesbury, Bucks.
They said they will be “star struck” when they face Biles, an all-time great in their sport. Jessica said: “To be in the same competition as her is amazing.” Jennifer added: “She makes everything look so easy. She pushes boundaries.”
Team GB gymnasts hope to beat their record medals haul of two gold, two silver and three bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
And it was in Rio that welterweight Pat made his Olympics debut – and there was no one prouder than his light welterweight brother Luke, who watched his brother after missing out on a place in the team himself.
But Luke admitted: “If we’re playing a game, there’s a high level of competition. We’re not really allowed to spar much, because it gets out of hand.”
However, Pat insisted: “There’s no rivalry. I want to see him win and he wants to see me win.”
The Sunderland-born brothers paid tribute to the hard work and support of their parents Martin and Michelle, and coach Graeme Rutherford at Birtley Boxing Club near their home in
Washington, Tyne and Wear.