Double Downies show sisters are doing it for themselves

Wed May 18, 2016 4:19am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - As a double Commonwealth Games gold medalist born more than seven years before her younger sister Ellie, gymnast Becky Downie would like nothing better than to pull rank on her equally talented sibling.

"But it just doesn’t work with Ellie!" exclaimed 24-year-old Becky in a telephone interview with Reuters ahead of next month's European Championships.

The doppelganger sisters, known as Double Downies, have become the face of British gymnastics after guiding the nation to their first team medal -- a bronze -- at the 2015 world championships.

Watching them in competition, it is clear they are each other's biggest supporter, with one of them shouting words of encouragement as the other performs their gravity-defying routines on an apparatus.

But spending almost every waking moment in close quarters is not all about winning glittering medals and sharing celebratory hugs.

"We do just irritate each other in general. Ellie can be quite slow and grumpy in the morning. Ellie’s definitely not a morning person," Becky said with a smile.

Her 16-year-old sister added: "We can get on top of each other because we’re together all the time. We go to gym together, then we’re at the gym together. We go back home together, then we’re at home together and we travel away together so it can get claustrophobic and crazy.

"I can drive her insane," Ellie said impishly before dissolving into laughter.   Continued...