Sibling rivalries within sporting families

Sibling rivalries within sporting families


Handball star Arnor Gunnarsson is after brotherly bragging rights, while Phil and Gary Neville are not the only sports stars in the family Cardiff City are back in the Premier League, but their squad looks very different to the last time they were there.


One man who is still around, though, is Aron Gunnarsson. The Icelander scored in the Bluebirds’ first Premier League win – against Manchester City, no less – and will feature again this season after turning out for his country at the World Cup in Russia. Aron is not the only international athlete in the family, though. Older brother Arnor is a veteran with the Icelandic handball team, and represented his country at the 2015 and 2017 World Championship tournaments. He will hope to be involved as Iceland’s handball team takes part in the 2019 World Championships, held in Denmark and Germany, where they have been drawn against 2017 semi-finalists Croatia as well as Spain, who were quarter-finalists last time out. The Gunnarsson’s aren’t the first pair of siblings to represent their country at the highest level across different sports, however. And that’s before we get on to those siblings who – like the Williams sisters or the Bryan brothers – have excelled at the same sport. Here are a few of the others.

Klay, Trayce and Mychel Thompson

Klay Thompson’s father Mychal was an NBA Championship winner in his day, so it was no surprise to see the Californian follow in his old man’s footsteps. What might be more surprising, though, is the decision of younger brother Trayce to pick up a different ball sport altogether, playing as an outfielder for several MLB franchises. What’s more, the pair’s older brother Mychel has also played professional basketball, including a short stint in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gary, Phil and Tracey

Neville Gary and Phil Neville both played football for Manchester United and England, making the squads for multiple tournaments in the 90s and 2000s, but they’re not the only members of their family to hit those heights. Phil’s twin Tracey is one of the most recognisable players in British women’s netball history, and coached the England women’s team to its first ever netball gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Mark and Dan McGwire

There are few baseball fans who won’t be familiar with the name Mark McGwire. The pitcher posted phenomenal numbers throughout his career, only to later admit to steroid use.

His brother Dan went down a slightly different path, and was tipped for big success as a youngster. He was a first-round NFL draft pick, joining the Seattle Seahawks as a backup quarterback, but never made the breakthrough some anticipated from him.

Nicolas and Julien Escudé

Around the turn of the century, Nicolas Escudé was one of tennis’ grand slam nearly- men, reaching two quarter-finals and a semi-final across three of the sport’s big four tournaments. He also, famously, helped France to Davis Cup glory in 2001, beating the great Lleyton Hewitt in the process. His brother Julien is also pretty well decorated too, the younger sibling playing his part in Sevilla’s back-to-back UEFA Cup triumphs in 2006 and 2007 and winning 13 caps for France’s football team. Tough to choose between these two.

Jon, Arthur and Chandler Jones

MMA star Jon Jones may be the most accomplished of his siblings, twice winning the light-heavyweight title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the family has sporting pedigree all around. Jon’s brothers Arthur and Chandler are both American football pros, Arthur winning the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 before retiring four years later, and Chandler part of the victorious New England Patriots line-up at Super Bowl XLIX.