At the age of 4, Sarah and Taylor Anderson first stepped onto the ice. By 16, the identical twins were traveling internationally for curling competitions. One week, they’d be sitting in classes at Marple Newtown High School and, in their spare time, practicing at the Philadelphia Curling Club in Paoli. The next week, they’d be representing the United States on the world stage.
The Broomall natives, who turn 25 this month, now live together in Minneapolis, where they attended the University of Minnesota, and spend much of their days training at the national curling facility outside of the city. While they didn’t qualify for the 2018 Olympics, they hope to make it to the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
When we caught up with the twins earlier this week, they were focused on their preparation for the U.S. national championships, which begin this weekend in Spokane, Wash. They hope to bring home their second women’s gold medal in as many years.
“The national championships are always really exciting,” said Sarah Anderson. “It’s the best teams in the country competing for that title, so it’s exciting that everyone’s bringing their best game. There’s a lot on the line, and I think everyone really enjoys the pressure of the week.”
Here’s more of what they had to say about their success in the sport and how their twin connection has helped them:
Your father, Wayne, and your older sisters, Emily and Courtney, are all high-level curlers. For you two, did curling start out as a family bonding experience or was it competitive from the beginning?
Sarah: “At first, it was definitely more of a family thing. My dad really loves the sport, and he really wanted us to play. His love for the sport grew into us wanting to be competitive. We really caught the bug. It’s still a family bonding thing today because that’s literally all my parents talk about [laughs]."
Growing up, did you play any other sports?
Taylor: “We played pretty much every sport imaginable. We did swimming and diving, tennis. We tried golf, soccer, and basketball. [Our parents] had us playing a lot of sports, a lot of travel teams. That kept us busy, which I think made us well-rounded as athletes.”
What are you most proud of in your young career?
Taylor: “I was most proud of last year winning our first women’s national championship. It was a great honor to finally win it because we’re pretty young in the sport. I was just really proud to show the hard work that my dad had put in for us and our parents had dedicated for us to train."
Is twin telepathy a thing?
Taylor: “People like to think so. I think we definitely have a strong connection. I think a lot of twins in sports have a good connection, a team dynamic on the ice or the court. ... We do have a secret signal we like to do if we’re both on the ice, or even off the ice. It shows, ‘Hey, I got your back’ and shows we support each other, without making it obvious to everyone."
Spending so much time together, do you ever get on each other’s nerves?
Sarah: “Growing up with a twin is different than having other siblings, because you’re literally around each other your entire life, from waking up in the morning to going to bed. It’s just a different relationship. I think we’re so close and so honest and direct with each other, it might come off that we’re arguing. But we just shoot it straight with each other. We always have each other’s backs."
What do you think the average person would be most surprised to learn about curling?
Sarah: “I’d say it’s harder than it looks. I’d encourage anyone to come out and try it. It’s a sport for all ages, from 5 to 85.”
How often do you go home? When you do, what are some of the things you always want to do?
Sarah: “I’d say, twice a year. It’s really nice to spend time with family and friends but also enjoy some of the local food. The pizza at home is so good, or Wawa, or Rita’s. All things we don’t have out here in the Midwest.”