A just released Guinness ad tells the amazing story of twin biathletes Tracy and Lanny Barnes, one of whom gave up her spot in the upcoming Sochi Olympics so that her sister could compete.

Let’s just say it’s a far cry from the way some other beer ads have portrayed twins.

Tomorrow, because of a U.S. Olympic Committee rule banning Team USA athletes from appearing in ads by competitors of official sponsors, it must be taken off the air.

The Barnes twins, 31, have been training together for 15 years. They both competed in the biathlon at the 2006 Torino Olympics, and were part of the 15th-place U.S. 4x6km relay team that year. Tracy didn’t qualify for Vancouver in 2010, but Lanny did and finished 23rd in the 15k – her personal best.

For Sochi, there were five spots on the women’s team. Tracy qualified at the IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy last weekend, making her the last addition. Lanny had been sick for the final four team selection races and was only able to compete in one, but still had the next-best record from the qualifying period.

Tracy selflessly gave up her spot for Lanny.

The ad, which celebrates their courageous decision, is part of Guinness’ “Made of More” campaign. It was made by BBDO.

Because Budweiser is an official Team USA sponsor, Diageo-Guinness will have to take down the ad some time tomorrow, when the blackout period that runs from January 30 – February 26 begins.

“We are not doing this as a guerilla marketing tactic to ride the wave of the Olympics,” Diageo spokesman Jim Sias told AdAge. “This is just a really powerful, inspirational story we think really aligns with the DNA of what the Guinness brand is.”

For Lanny Barnes, her sister’s gesture speaks to the heart of what the Olympic Games are really about – or at least what they should be about.

As she told 3WireSports, “Often during the hype of the Games we forget . . . They aren’t about the medals and the fame and all of that. The Olympics are about inspiration, teamwork, excellence and representation. I can think of no better example of the true Olympic spirit than what Tracy did last weekend. It took a lot of courage and sacrifice to make such a powerful decision.”

Watch the ad while you still can, and keep an eye out for Lanny when the Winter Olympics begin on February 6.


The advertisment was taken offline on Wednesday evening, 29 Jan 2014.