MainlineMediaNews: In many ways, identical twins Sarah and Taylor Anderson live typical high school lives. They labor over homework, Facebook their friends and adore amusement parks.
But it is their passion for curling that sets them apart from their peers – a passion that has brought them from their home ice in Paoli to Innsbruck, Austria Jan. 13-22 for the world’s first Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Rather than cram for midterms like their classmates at Marple Newtown High School, the twin 16-year-olds, along with two male teammates from New Jersey and Massachusetts, proudly represent Team U.S.A.
And at press time, the four were poised to take the gold in mixed curling competition among 15 teams from around the world. Varsity athletes in multiple sports at Marple Newtown, the twins relinquished their basketball spots for a shot at Innsbruck, a decision that paid off when they earned bids in November at playdowns at North Dakota’s Grafton Curling Club.
Pennsylvania is hardly known as a curling hotspot, but that didn’t stop Wayne Anderson from ingraining a love of curling in his daughters from a young age. A native of Ontario, Canada, where the sport is much more popular, Wayne coached the twins’ three older sisters to the U.S. junior nationals and to spots on Queen’s University’s curling team in Kingston, Ont.
The twins, who were born several weeks premature and live in Broomall, began playing at the Philadelphia Curling Club in Paoli at age 5. By age 11, they were competing.
“Arlene and I have five daughters who curl and have always dreamed that I would one day see some of them represent the USA in a curling event - I am right now living my dream,” Anderson said by e-mail from Innsbruck.
It's borderline impossible to talk about the Winter Olympic Games without mentioning curling. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, curling is a game similar to shuffleboard or bowling in which teams slide heavy stones over an icy surface. Teams can control the distance traveled by shot finesse, smoothing the surface in front of the moving stone, and spin-control. This makes curling a wonderful mixture of practice, reflexes, and precision. The rub here is that curling is not usually referenced in the same sentence as teenagers; until now.
Last week we delved into the proliferation of newer youth sports and their entrance into the traditional Olympic games. This week, we flip the script around as we now see younger athletes excelling in sports traditionally reserved for older competitors. What's the bottom line here? Youth sports are expanding, evolving, and constantly improving; and there's nothing anybody can do to stop it.
Weplay supports all of our Team USA Junior Olympians -- Good Luck!!