Twins who tumble together stay together

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Twins who tumble together stay together

Used with permission

Used with permission

Used with permission

By Becky Hoving

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No, you’re not seeing double when you see Kristen Onorato ’15 and Pamela Onorato ’15 mount the beams at their gym, Arena Gymnastics, or tumble their way to national rankings. Kristen and Pamela are identical twins, but they have distinct personalities that set them apart.

Arena Gymnastics coach Laurie DeFrancesco has acknowledged these individualities. “I find Pamela to be more aggressive in gymnastics and Kristen more artistic,” DeFrancesco explained. “I think that is consistent with their personalities….both of them are very goal-oriented and always willing to work hard.”

Growing up, the sisters shared everything, from their passion for gymnastics to their taste in music. A friendly sibling rivalry was bound to develop. “There’s definitely some friendly competition between us,” Pamela said.

“But we always say, if I can’t win, I’d rather it be her than someone else,” Kristen added.

Kristen and Pamela are so alike that they finish one another’s sentences. While close friends and family depend on their personalities and mannerisms to tell them apart, mix-ups still happen.

Though gymnastics is largely individual, it’s nice to have someone who always has your back.”

— Pamela Onorato

Their identical looks, spanning from their hair color to their height to their clothing style, trip the average person up on a daily basis. Just try telling them apart when they are wearing matching blue Arena Gymnastics leotards, and have their hair slicked back into polished ponytails.

“A few years ago, my coach wasn’t really paying attention when he was talking to our parents, and he cheered on the wrong girl,” Pamela said. Luckily, both Pamela and Kristen are understanding, and never really take offense. “It’s never really a personal thing when people mix us up,” Pamela explained.

“We know whoever it is knows which one of us it actually is, they just get the names switched, which could happen to anyone, twin or not,” Kristen finished.

Close friend Jenna Levantin ’16 is no stranger to mix-ups. “When I first became friends with Kristen, I could tell who she was in class because she was the only one of the twins there,” Levantin began. “But when I would pass one of them in the hallway, I would literally avoid eye contact because I wasn’t sure if it was [Kristen] or not.”

While Kristen and Pamela may be on their own as they spin 720 degrees in the air or run faster than track stars toward a four-foot-high vault, they still are able to be supportive of one another.

“Though gymnastics is largely individual, it’s nice to have someone who always has your back,” Pamela said. “And since we are exactly the same age, we are always in the same age group for meets,” Kristen said. “Which is definitely an added benefit for us both because, while it may spark competition, in the end we are sisters and teammates.”

DeFrancesco couldn’t stress Kristen and Pamela’s camaraderie on the team more. “They have competed in the same age group their entire gymnastics careers, and I have never seen anything but genuine happiness for each other’s successes and tremendous support for each other,” DeFrancesco said.

Looking ahead to their final year as high school gymnasts, Kristen and Pamela have their eye on the prize. “Our goal is to tie first place,” Kristen said.

“That hasn’t happened yet for us,” Pamela said, sharing a look with her sister. “But, who knows? This could be our year.”