Olympic teams from all over the world share plenty of special bonds. Many athletes compete together at home, some have known each other and trained together for years prior, but only a few have the opportunity to represent their country at the Olympic games alongside someone with whom they share genes. This year, brother and sister Zach and Paige Railey will sail for the US Sailing team at the Olympics alongside each other for the first time, and complete a family quest many years in the making.

Growing up in Clearwater Fla., little sister Paige (25) looked up to her older brother Zach (28) from a young age. At the age of 8, Zach started the family sailing early, and Paige caught the sailing bug soon after when her older brother gave her a ride back to the dock after a race. And so began the start of an American family sailing duo.

Meet the team: Zach Railey

Both have now become accomplished sailors in their own right. Zach won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics and was named US Sailing’s Sportsman of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2006, at the age of 16, Paige earned honors as the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Paige narrowly missed qualifying for the 2008 Olympics -- when her lifejacket caught on her boat’s boom she capsized in the final race to finish second in qualifying -- so 2012 will be her first shot at matching her brother.

While Paige attempts to win her first medal, Zach hopes to win the elusive gold. At Weymouth, the Finn competition will likely once again come down to whether he can out-sail Ben Ainslie of Great Britian, who is sailing in his fifth olympics and has four olympic medals already -- including golds in the Finn class at the last two olympics. As a veteran olympic sailor and captain of the 2012 US Sailing team, Zach will provide plenty of leadership to his sister, along with the entire US team.

Meet the team: Paige Railey

Paige will compete in the Laser radial class where she should have a shot to medal as she has consistently finished in the top three against similar fleets of in the world championships over the past four years. Last year she placed third at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth.

Competing together at the Olympics has been a family goal for a long time according to Paige in a recent US Sailing interview.

“It’s a very special time for my family and brother,” Paige said. “The Railey family has been working towards this for years so it is so exciting to be competing with Zach.”

Whether or not the Railey siblings come home with hardware around their necks the pair will make sibling memories to last a lifetime when they compete on the waters of Weymouth bay in early August.

-- James Schleicher is a former Navy man, an avid yachtsman and the publisher of Horns Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter.

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