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Team USA Twins Push Each Other Toward Success

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Nearly 400 U.S. athletes will be competing in the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships this weekend in Henderson, Nev., but two of those athletes — Terry and Todd Hart — have a unique bond as twins. The Harts are the only set of twins on Team USA, and together they have been participating in multisport events for more than 25 years.

They got their start when they were graduating from college and they were looking for a way to stay active after playing collegiate sports. “We started with bike racing, and that led to triathlons,” Terry said.

Both Terry and Todd qualified for the world championship event at the 2010 USA Triathlon Long Course National Championship in Myrtle Beach. They crossed the finish line within five minutes of each other and claimed their spots on Team USA for top-ten finishes in the men’s 50-54 age group.

“It’s kind of nice to know that you have somebody out there that is going to be a couple seconds ahead of you or a couple seconds behind, to kind of gauge your performance on any given day,” Todd said.

Though they both currently live in the same city in Ohio, they used to live in different parts of the country and didn’t train or race together much, if at all. They actually prefer different distances – Todd would rather race shorter distances, while Terry embraces the long-distance races much more readily.

Even so, they often compete at a similar pace and are usually close to each other out on the course. In fact, in the USA Triathlon rankings, they have even been as close as one one-hundredth of a point of each other, even though they didn’t compete in any of the same races in that particular season.

Terry admits that having someone you know out on the course with you can make for a different mental approach to the race. “It makes you push yourself harder,” he said.

The Harts say that throughout their years in multisport, they have always been competitive with each other, which is no surprise given their common speed and shared goals for certain events. However, the twins’ outlook on multisport participation has changed, especially after illness and injury.

“It’s a lot more about mutual respect and having an appreciation for what the other one has gone through to train to get to that level,” Todd said about the competitive nature between he and his brother. “We respect that a lot more than we have in the past.”

This may be due to the fact that not long ago, Todd had level-three melanoma. The surgery he had after his diagnosis has changed his gait, enough so that the run is more difficult than it used to be. His run may have changed, but Todd is not letting the new feel stop him from something he loves to do.

For other athletes looking to get involved in multisport with a sibling or other family member, Terry recommends keeping it fun and safe. “Just have fun and keep things in perspective,” he said. We’re very competitive, but that would be a secondary objective.”

The Hart brothers have been on Team USA once before, and they are looking forward to the camaraderie amongst the athletes and taking part in a world championship on U.S. soil. “It’s a blast,” Todd said. “It’s well worth it and a great experience for the competitiveness and the competitors — not only domestically but internationally.

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