Germany’s athletics federation director Thomas Kurschilgen has accused twin sisters Anna and Lisa Hahner of not trying hard enough and attempting to generate publicity after holding hands across the finish line in the women’s marathon.
The duo crossed the line together in Sunday’s race, with Anna placed 81st ahead of Lisa in 82nd, some 21 minutes behind victor Jemima Sumgong.
Anna’s time was 19 minutes slower than her personal best, while Lisa was 17 minutes down on her PB.
With neither in contention to place in the medal positions, the sisters decided to cross the line hand-in-hand, an act that Kurschilgen believes was motivated by a desire for media attention.
“The Hahner twins Lisa and Anna ended their Olympic marathon race more than 21 minutes behind the winner [and] more than 15 minutes on their best performance,” Kurschilgen told reporters.
“It looked as though they completed a fun run and not [an] Olympic [race].”
In an e-mail published by The New York Times, Kurschilgen added: “Victory and medals are not the only goal.
“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. That is what we criticize.”