Trio for Rio set to make history: Estonian triplets head to Olympics

Fri May 27, 2016 2:11pm EDT
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By David Mardiste

TARTU, Estonia (Reuters) - Leila, Liina and Lily Luik from Estonia will make Olympics history when they cross the start line for the women's marathon in Rio.

Twins competing in the same event is not uncommon at the Olympic level. But the Luiks are believed to be the first identical triplets to compete against each other.

The blond, blued-eyed sisters from the southern Estonian university town of Tartu, now 30 years old, only took up serious distance running when they were 24.

"We have been active since childhood, we love dancing, we love to be active and this pushed us to professional sports," Lily said.

Liina, who got the sisters to start running, said that long-distance running appealed to them more than the highly technical nature of sprinting.

After a couple of years, they realised they were good enough to take part in international competitions. They decided to try for the Olympics, adopting the slogan "Trio to Rio" to give shape to their hopes of all three competing in the Olympics.

"We saw ... after one year we had good results in Estonia and we thought we could achieve something good also outside of Estonia and to do some big competitions like European Championships and the Olympic games," Lily.

In competition, the sisters say they support each other emotionally and even in race tactics, such as taking it in turns to act as wind breakers.   Continued...

Estonia's olympic team female marathon runners triplets (L-R) Leila, Liina and Lily Luik take part in a training session in Tartu, Estonia, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins