Cool as two cucumbers

Okay, I know that identical twins are genetic carbon copies of each other and all, but how does this translate into similarites in objective task performance?
Twin sisters Diana and Julie Pickler, who are members of Washington State University’s track and field team, are competing in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento. For those who have forgotten, the heptathlon is a two-day affair consisting of the 100-meter high hurdles, high jump shot put, 200-meter dash (day one)and the long jump, javelin throw, and 800-meter run (day two). Competitiors can rack up anywhere from zero to 1,000 points in each event, with scoring done via tables.
One expects the sisters to be similarly talented, but this is ridiculous: At the end of one day of competition, the twins shared third place with 3,451 points each. Julie had edged her sister by 0.26 seconds in the hurdles and thrown the shot about 3 1/2 feet further, while Diana jumped 2 1/4″ higher than her sib and ran 0.37 seconds faster in the 200. On the basis of this very limited information, neither woman seems to have a distinct advantage over the other in any defined realm, i.e., in terms of speed, finesse or power. Going into this season, Julie’s lifetime best (5,650 points) was 55 points higher than Diana’s, a difference of less than 1%.
It’s unlikely that the twins will remain tied when the competition ends tomorrow afternoon (results here), but the question is: Will Diana — the older twin by four minutes and the one who apparently winds up in front most often — or Julie prevail and why? (Invoking the trivial age difference is probably inane, but I can’t think of much else to add.)

2 thoughts on “Cool as two cucumbers”

  1. I bet they train together as well, matching each other every day, yard-for-yard, second-for-second. Thus, both nature and nurture are very, very similar.

  2. I’m sure you’re right, coturnix; what’s interesting is that in every instance I can recall )nore selection bias!)of identical twins at the top level of distance running (which I follow most closely), one or the other invariably winds up consistently outperforming the other by small but significant (by the standards of both the sport and, I would think, genetic endowment) amounts. Thus I believe psychology winds up playing a big role too.
    By the way, worry not about your Movable Type woes — if we chimps can work with it, even the avian specimen in your initial post can too.

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