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Twin Colorado Biathletes Looking Toward 2014 Olympics

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Cesana San Sicario, ITALY:  US twins Lanny and Tracy Barnes talk by the shooting range during a practice session for the Women's 75km biathlon sprint event at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, 15 February 2006 in Cesana San Sicario (credit: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Cesana San Sicario, ITALY: US twins Lanny and Tracy Barnes talk by the shooting range during a practice session for the Women’s 75km biathlon sprint event at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, 15 February 2006 in Cesana San Sicario (credit: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) – Twins Lanny and Tracy Barnes of Durango are shooting to be the first American biathletes ever to medal at the Olympics.

The 31-year-olds competed in the 2006 Olympics in Turin and Lanny represented the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010. The closest either came to the podium was Lanny’s 23rd-place finish in the 15-kilometer individual event in 2010.

But this year, both twins underwent a surgical procedure they hope will elevate their performance in time for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The Durango Herald reported Monday that both women had surgery this winter for compartment syndrome, a condition that can put pressure on parts of the lower leg and damage the muscle.

Both Lanny and Tracy had noticed the same pain in their lower legs. It seemed to prevent them from pushing off well and affected their balance. Eventually it was diagnosed as chronic exertional compartment syndrome, and the twins had to decide whether to continue to race through the pain or to miss the end of the 2013 season to have surgery.

On Feb. 1, the twins each underwent a lower leg operation in Colorado Springs. Tracy told The Durango Herald the recuperation process has been long, but uneventful.

“I think in the long run it was probably a blessing in disguise because we haven’t had a break this long since we started biathlon,” Lanny told The Durango Herald.

Though Lanny and Tracy missed the end of this race season, they expect to be fully recovered in time for next season.

The first U.S. Olympic team qualifying event will be held in August in Vermont, and the second in October in Utah. The Olympic teams will be announced at the end of December.

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