Australia’s got Tallent. Two of them. And they’re both on their way to Rio. Meet Olympic 50km race walking champ Jared and his little sister Rachel.

“Stop copying” is a familiar cry between feuding siblings. But for Rachel Tallent, 23, mimicking her older brother has led her to an entry at this summer’s Rio Olympics.

“Since she was aged five she used to follow me down the hallway pretending to race walk in the family home,” recalls Jared, 31, a three-time Olympic medallist. “She picked up the technique straight away.”

Growing up on a potato farm just outside Ballarat in Victoria, Jared and Rachel are the fourth and fifth eldest of six sport-obsessed siblings. Yet while one brother excelled in running and another in swimming, Jared chose race walking and Rachel followed suit, making her debut over 1km aged “eight or nine”.

In 2003, when Rachel was ten, Jared left the family home to train at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, 700km away. She recalls being inspired watching her brother win silver and bronze in the 50km and 20km, respectively, at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“That was really huge for me,” admits Rachel. “At that point I was a 16-year-old teenage girl at high school – at a point in my life when many girls are lost to sport. But my dad took me and my sister to watch Jared compete in Beijing. To see him do well there made me also want to succeed in race walking.”

Jared Tallent ()

Jared at the 50km finish at London 2012

She trained with renewed motivation, and the following year landed her first national title as a junior to jump-start her career.

Jared’s career continued to flourish. He claimed the Olympic 50km title at London 2012 (upgraded from silver this year following the disqualification of Sergey Kirdyapkin). He’s also won world championships medals – two silvers (2011 and ’15) and one bronze (2013) – over 50km, and has a raft of Race Walking World Cup medals.

Rachel has made a more gradual mark on the international stage. She finished 22nd in the 10,000m race walk at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona. The following year she was eighth in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge event in Taicang, China. However, after suffering a difficult, injury-troubled 2014 she had a conversation with her brother. It prompted a potentially career-defining change.

“Rachel failed to make the World Race Walking Cup that year and when we got talking we realised she needed to do things a little differently,” Jared says. He decided to offer his services as coach. “She trusted my advice and went with me.”

Rachel Tallent ()

At Beijing 2015, Rachel made her world champs debut in the same arena Jared won two Olympic medals in in 2008

Many could not entertain the thought of a coach-athlete relationship with their sibling, but the Tallents have found it actually gives them greater freedom to be brutally honest. “Sometimes he really annoys me,” admits Rachel of Jared, “but I’m not afraid to tell him ‘get lost’ and I know he is not going to take things the wrong way.”

Jared agrees: “We know each other very well and because she is my sister I can tell her just how things are. If she was somebody else, I might be a more gentle about it.”

Jared says the pair share “very good” endurance but both lack “a little speed”. They differ in that whereas Jared rarely suffers injury, his sister has a “brittleness”. He has wisely adapted her training regime accordingly.

Rachel’s training load is restricted to a maximum of four training walks per week, totalling no more than 85km. Elsewhere, cross training to build fitness has played a growing role in her workout plan. The change has paid dividends: last year Rachel qualified for her first world championships, finishing 34th in the women’s 20km walk. Jared snared silver in the 50km event.

The improvement has continued this year. Rachel demolished her 20km PB by more than two-and-a-half minutes, recording 1:31:33 to win the Oceania Championships in Adelaide and book her spot for Rio. She is quick to credit Jared’s coaching.

“He understands what it is like to be an athlete,” says Rachel. “If I’m feeling tired, he’ll give me a lighter day. Since being coached by Jared it has been crazy and at times I’ve probably doubted myself, but I’m glad I’ve made the switch.”

Jared Tallent ()

Jared has acted as coach to little sister Rachel since 2014. They will be hoping she gets her moment in the sun in Rio

Friday 19th August will be a big one for the Tallents. In the morning, Jared will attempt to become only the second man in history to successfully defend an Olympic 50km title. Later that afternoon, Rachel will make her Olympic debut over the 20km distance. Acting the role of both Olympic athlete and coach on the same day is no problem for the cucumber-cool Aussie.

“She competes in the afternoon, so I’ll have time to focus on me and then I’ll focus on her,” Jared insists. “It worked well at the 2015 World Championships,” adds Rachel. “Sometimes it is hard for athletes to have access to personal coaches at major championships, but he will be right there keeping me relaxed.”

So while Jared dreams of mounting a successful Olympic title defence, what hopes does he have for his sister in Brazil?

“She’s always had the potential but now she is a lot more motivated after making the world championship team. That has given her the belief and more confidence in reaching her targets in training.

“She’s still very young at 23, and she has started later in the senior ranks than I did. But I have to remind her when I was 23 I won two (Olympic) medals, although I won’t put that on her,” he adds with a smile.

Whatever happens, there is no chance of Jared telling his little sister to stop copying him.