Emily Gale is one of the nation’s top pole vaulters. The senior at Miami (Fl.) Calvary Christian School is the reigning Florida Class 1A state champion in the event. Throughout her senior year, she has dominated at competitions across the state. In short, she should be a shoo-in to repeat. There’s just one catch, and that catch happens to look, speak and act just like her. In fact, it even shares her birthday.
No, Prep Rally isn’t using a cheesy metaphor about how Gale is her own biggest competitor here. Rather, Gale’s biggest foe is her identical twin sister, Amanda Gale, who finished as the Class 1A runner up in 2012. And in 2013, she absolutely wants to usurp her sister’s spot on the throne.
As noted by the Miami Herald, for the first time Amanda Gale has topped her sister in regular season competition. At two meets during the 2012 campaign, Amanda has won a jump-off to snatch a title from her sister, including the recent District 15-1A meet.
While Emily was the only sister to have cleared 11-feet entering their senior outdoor season, Amanda has surpassed her sister in the final campaign. They enter the state meet with Amanda ranked No. 2 across all divisions in the state with a vault of 12-feet and Emily not far behind with a vault of 11-feet. In past seasons, Emily has cleared a height of 11-foot-11.
“In some ways it’s hard because Amanda is my sister and I want her to win it,” Emily Gale told the Herald. “It almost makes me less competitive and I wish it made me more competitive. If I am going to win it, I would rather beat somebody else than Amanda. Our goal is be first and second.”
The twins have never let their own competitiveness get in the way of their friendship, calling themselves best friends and nearly inseparable. They won’t be escaping their friendly rivalry in college either, with the pair committing to compete for the University of Louisiana Lafayette together.
That tight bond has been forged in the crucible of a debilitating and rare disease. As reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, both sisters suffer from a disease called Common Variable Immune Deficiency, a very rare condition marked by low levels of serum immunoglobulins. In other words, the sisters have a rare case of antibody deficiency. The condition led to serious health concerns for both sisters, with Emily requiring surgery for a hole in her heart following her sophomore year and Amanda requiring advanced treatment that included antibody infusions and antibiotic therapy three times per week.
The paid has also become closer over dinner tables and, often, baking in the kitchen. The pair has an Instagram account called Twin Bakers (@twinbakers) and has more than enough talent to make a go of opening up a pastry shop once they’re done with school, if that’s what they decide they’d like to do.
For the moment they have more pressing issues, namely a state title to compete for. No matter who wins, they’ll then go home together and celebrate … perhaps with a batch of cupcakes.
“We’re very close,” Amanda Gale said. “I’ll start a sentence and Emily will know where I am going with it and just continue the conversation. It’s really helpful to always have your best friend at your side. If I get second and she gets first to us it’s like a win between both of us. It’s like we both won the meet.”