- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 2:33PM
These German twins have the warmed the hearts of viewers when they crossed the finish line at the end of the marathon holding hands.
Everyone except those in their homeland, Germany.
The Hahner girls have been heavily criticised for not trying hard enough after finishing the 42km race in two hours and 45 minutes. If they were giving everything they had, the theory went, they wouldn't have finished side-by-side with huge smiles on their faces.
"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, (in position) 81 and 82. It looked as though they completed a fun run and not (an) Olympic (race)," German Athletics Federaton director Thomas Kurschilgen told reporters.
"Victory and medals are not the only goal," he added in an email to the New York Times. "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 criticise."
They were also scolded for stealing the spotlight from the other German in the race, 44th-placed finisher Anja Scherl.
But Lisa and Anna say they were just looking to share a once-in-a-lifetime moment. "Number 81 and 82. Definitely not what we had hoped for," they wrote in a post on their Facebook page.
"Whether we are satisfied? No. Crossing the finish line? Nevertheless, one of our greatest sporting moments."
Anna also emailed the New York Times, arguing that her and her sister were not side-by-side for the entire race and only finished together after she produced a huge effort to catch Lisa with 2km to go.
"Lisa was always not far from me," she wrote. "After 40km, there was a turning point, and I knew, 'Okay Anna, 2km to go to close the gap to Lisa.' I invested all I had and 300m before the finish line, I was next to Lisa. It was a magical moment that we could finish this marathon together. We did not think about what we were doing."