Identical triplets from Estonia, Leila, Liina and Lily Luik will this year make Olympics history when they cross the start line for the women’s marathon in Rio.
The 30-year-old blond, blue-eyed sisters from the southern Estonian university town of Tartu, said they only took up serious distance running when they were 24.
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.
Liina, who got the sisters to start running, said 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.
Even though they qualified for the Olympics and are excited, the triplets appreciate the fact that it might be tough to pick up medals against other competing countries like Kenya and Ethiopia.
The sisters live separately in Estonia and sometimes have to train apart. But they regularly spend winters together at a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, and they appear to enjoy each other’s company, chatting away while running. They have been training in northern Italy since June for Rio.