If you’d never heard of Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova before their bronze medal win you’ve definitely heard their names now. The 16-year-old twins are part of Team GB’s four-person women’s team at the Tokyo Olympics and came third in the women’s final on July 27. It’s been a 93-year wait for such an achievement for the team as they’re the first to win a medal in the Olympic team finals since 1928.
“I cannot believe this, this is more than a dream come true,” said Jennifer, speaking to The Guardian. “My dream was to make the Olympics and experience it and even being here is an achievement in itself. Our biggest aim was to make Paris 2024. Let alone coming away with a medal. It is incredible and there are words to describe it.”
The twins, who live in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, were born to Azerbaijani parents in Dublin. It’s in Aylesbury that they began more than 30 hours of training a week, earning their first national call-ups at the age of 14. Since then, the pair have gone from strength to strength as they compete in Tokyo 2020, representing Great Britain for the first time on a global senior stage.
The twins have caught the eye of former GB gymnast, Danusia Francis who says the emerging stars have the “wow factor”. In the an interview with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics site, she said: “They’ve just got that level of performance, which I think takes them to that world-class level. I think their technique on every skill they do is well taught and their executions are brilliant.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova.
The Gadirova Twins’ Instagram
The twins are active social media users, sharing pictures of them at competitions and performing routines for their 20.8k followers on Instagram.
Their post recent post shows them celebrating their Olympic bronze medal win with their fellow teammates, Alice Kinsella and Amelie Morgan.
Their Gymnastic Journey
Jessica and Jennifer’s gymnastics journey began at six years old when their mother introduced them to the sport because she felt they needed an outlet for their energy. “When we were younger we used to be hyper, climbing on everything,” Jennifer told the BBC in 2019. “Our mum put us in lots of sports but we just clicked with gymnastics.”
Unlike many gymnasts, the young athletes don’t have much dance training. While they did ballet at the age of six, they didn’t stick with it very long. It’s thanks to their natural talent that the ability to dance and coordinate their routines comes so naturally to them.
Prior to making it to the Olympics, both Jessica and Jennifer had a string of accomplishments. Jessica won a gold medal at the European Championships earlier this year despite a fall on a beam during the qualifying competition. Jennifer, on the other hand, was nursing an injury back at home so didn’t take part. However, she did have her moment at the American Cup in 2020 where she scored highly in three out of four events.
On Hearing They Made the Olympics
Competing with your twin could present challenges, but for the Gadirovas there was nothing but excitement and support for each other during the Olympic qualifying stages.
“I received my news first,” Jessica said in an official Olympics interview. “We were excited for me but still a bit nervous to hear Jen’s news, but as soon as we heard hers we were all in tears and just everyone was so excited.”
“I heard her news and I was so happy," said Jennifer added, "but then, like, I don't want to get my hopes up – would I get in? – but then as soon as I had the phone call, I was just like, we’ve done it together.”
“When I see her I’ll be star-struck, like a fan-girl. It doesn’t seem real that we will be competing in the same competition,” Jennifer told the Independent. “She is so confident and makes everything look easy. I’m sure she feels nervous on the inside, but she doesn’t show it at all. She doesn’t look human in the way she does some of those things.”