Dutch twins Lieke and Sanne Wevers are celebrating sisterhood in Sofia as they prepare to represent the Netherlands for the first time together in major competition as part of the same team. Pictured: The twins pose in Venice Beach, Calif., during a trip to Los Angeles in 2013.
With the 2014 European Gymnastics Championships beginning this week in Bulgaria, Dutch twins Lieke and Sanne Wevers are celebrating sisterhood in Sofia as they prepare to represent the Netherlands for the first time together in major competition as part of the same team.
Born Sept. 17, 1991, in Oldenzaal, the Wevers twins are coached by their father, Vincent Wevers. They have been mainstays in Dutch gymnastics over the past decade, since Sanne made her major international debut at the 2004 Junior European Championships in Amsterdam. Until this year, however, injuries to one or both have prevented them from representing Netherlands together at a major competition.
Both gymnasts are known for their work on balance beam, in particular their excellent turning technique. At the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, Sanne had the "Wevers" turn named after her on balance beam (double turn with leg held horizontal).
At the end of April, Lieke won the gold medal on beam in an international friendly against Great Britain in Lilleshall, England.
IG Online quickly caught up with the twins on Sunday, after they had arrived in Sofia ready for the 2014 European Championships. The twins chatted about their careers and various injuries, and what it means to support each other through the highs and lows of elite gymnastics.
Sanne Wevers at the 2004 Junior Europeans
IG: You have not been on a team together because of injuries to one or both of you. Can you each tell us about the injuries you have had over the past few years?
LW: Unfortunately I've had a lot of injuries in my career. My big injury was in 2009, when I tore a part of my ACL at the European championships in Milan, Italy. I had surgery and the injury took me out for about two years. My comeback was in 2011, when I was a member of the Dutch team for the world championships in Tokyo, Japan, and then the 2012 Olympic Test Event in London.
After that I got injured again, to both of my wrists. I had to do surgery and once again all the recovery went very slow.
I was not sure if I could come back, but my passion and motivation were great enough to give it a try, andI worked very hard to get in this shape again. I'm very happy to be back and be able to compete on the international field again.
SW: In 2004 I competed at Europeans as a junior, and over the past 10 years I represented the Netherlands in 10 other major competitions (European Youth Olympic Festival, Europeans and world championships). Lieke and I have never been on the team together. When I made the team, she was injured and vice versa. So in 2009 I had an elbow injury, but I was there to watch my sister compete. In 2010 was the highlight of my career, when I got my own skill named on the Worlds (Wevers pirouette). After that I had a really tough time to pass, because I had a shoulder injury. I had surgery, and it toke me a long time to recover.
In 2011 I was ready for the trials for Tokyo, but than I fell on floor and hurt my foot. So that's why I couldn't compete in Tokyo or at the Olympic Test Event. After all of that, I took some time off and decided to start training for the worlds in Antwerp. This January Lieke and I were both fit and started training for the Europeans together.
IG: What does it feel like to be on a team together, representing both your family and the Netherlands?
LW: It feels very special to me. Many times when I was injured I supported my sister when she competed on the big events, and that was nerve-wracking for me. And now to be able to be very close on the competition floor together feels very safe and comfortable with her. We have been in a very good training process with each other, and we can help each other very well. I'm very excited that finally both Wevers are showing the world what we have worked for!
SW: I definitely feel the same, and I'm very proud that we made the team together this time. It feels very nice to have my sister close to me on the floor, instead of her supporting me from the stands. I hope we can help each other a lot, and perform the best we can!
Lieke Wevers at the 2011 Worlds
IG: What are your personal goals for the European championships?
LW: My personal goal is to hit my routines on bars and beam the best I can. I want to be clean and stable, and be a good member of the Dutch team.
SW: I also want to perform the best I can on bars and beam. This week I also want to be there for my teammates, to help and advice them where they need me. This is a team competition, so we have to look after each other.
IG: You are coached by your father. How often do you train together with the national team?
Both: We are coached by our dad at our home club. We only train together with the national team in preparation for the major competitions. Also we have a few meetings/camps a year with Dutch selection team.
IG: What do you think Netherlands needs to do to get back into the top teams?
Both: We think we're on the right road to get back in the top teams again. We are working on our D-scores, to get them higher, and of course we also pay much attention to our presentation, to show clean and beautiful routines.
For the future we really hope the old members of the Dutch team, like Céline van Gerner, Wyomi Masela and Joy Goedkoop, will work very hard to get back and be able to add their good qualities again.