Doping scandals, whispers of bribery and concerns about Russia's security and anti-gay laws might have buried the fabled "Olympic Spirit" ahead of February's Sochi games, but we have good news for people who like good news: It has been found, as remarkable as ever, in the selfless act of a U.S. biathlete.
Tracy Barnes qualified this weekend for the Olympics, but she won't be going. Barnes declined her spot on the U.S. team so that her twin sister, Lanny, could go instead. Parents, here's the part where you go get the kids and read them an awesome lesson on how to be a great brother or sister.
Lanny Barnes -- born five minutes before her sister -- seemed a lock to qualify after stringing together several strong results during the team's trials. But then she got sick and couldn't compete. Lanny's missed races meant she didn't finish enough trials to make the squad -- though she was next in line if one of the qualifiers was unable to compete.
Or, in the case of Tracy Barnes, if one of the qualifiers chose not to compete.
Recognizing both the great season her sister was enjoying and the Olympics opportunity her illness robbed Lanny of, Tracy Barnes took one for the team. And for the family.
"I can't even begin to describe what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me," Lanny Barnes wrote in an e-mail to The Durango (Colorado) Herald. "We have been training together every day for the past 15 years and I know how hard she has worked to make this team."
In an e-mail to friends Monday, Tracy Barnes wrote, "Yesterday I was named to the Olympic Team! I cannot think of any greater honor in the world, save one. ... [Lanny] is having a stellar year and I for one want to see where she can take it ... what heights she can climb to."
"In honor of friendship, cooperation and sacrifice, I declined my spot on the Olympic team."
Wow. And here I was puffing my chest out because my son shared his sticker book Tuesday with his little brother.
Speaking of proud parents, Deb Barnes told the Herald, "It’s just really a selfless thing to do... Tracy's a pretty amazing young woman. She's thought this through. This is where she wants to be."
Which means February 9, Lanny will be right where she wants to be: on the starting line in Sochi, for her third Olympic games.
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN