For many watching the women's marathon it was another highlight in an Olympic Games which has featured many uplifting moments.
Like the American and Kiwi 5000m runners who stopped to help each other after a mid-race fall and the Brazilian pole vaulter who thrilled his home crowd, these German twins warmed the hearts of viewers when they crossed the finish line at the end of the marathon holding hands.
Just not those in their homeland. The Hahner girls have been heavily criticised for not trying hard enough after finishing the 42km race in two hours and 45 minutes. If they were giving everything they had, the theory went, they wouldn't have finished side-by-side with huge smiles on their faces.
"The Hahner twins Lisa and Anna ended their Olympic marathon race more than 21 minutes behind the winner (and) more than 15 minutes on their best performance, (in position) 81 and 82. It looked as though they completed a fun run and not (an) Olympic (race)," German Athletics Federaton director Thomas Kurschilgen told reporters.
"Victory and medals are not the only goal," he added in an email to the New York Times. "Still, every athlete in the Olympic competitions should be motivated to demonstrate his or her best performance and aim for the best possible result.
"Their main aim was to generate media attention. That is what we criticise."
Lars Wallrodt, a columnist at daily national newspaper Die Welt, was similarly incensed. "The twins from Germany fell far short of their personal best. But it comes at the Olympics by more than medals? Is not being there and enjoying sports as important? Nonsense!" he wrote.
"The Olympics is the meeting of the best athletes, measuring the peak performance of each country's best. If the Hahners jointly want to cross the finish line, beaming and holding hands, then they can - in the countryside home run in St. Pölten or the Miss-Braided run in Solingen."
"At the Olympics all athletes should go to achieve maximum performance, not the most sympathetic photo opportunity."
They were also scolded for stealing the spotlight from the other German in the race, 44th-placed finisher Anja Scherl.
"Why should you want to sell with all his might that one always laughing and everything is always great," said Sabrina Mockenhaupt, another marathoner who missed Rio through injury.
"I'm sad that Anja Scherl completely perished in this production. It makes you wonder whether honesty and a fighting spirit in today's society is at all worthwhile."
But Lisa and Anna say they were just looking to share a once-in-a-lifetime moment. "Number 81 and 82. Definitely not what we had hoped for," they wrote in a post on their Facebook page.
"Whether we are satisfied? No. Crossing the finish line? Nevertheless, one of our greatest sporting moments."
Anna also emailed the New York Times, arguing that her and her sister were not side-by-side for the entire race and only finished together after she produced a huge effort to catch Lisa with 2km to go.
"Lisa was always not far from me," she wrote. "After 40km, there was a turning point, and I knew, 'Okay Anna, 2km to go to close the gap to Lisa.' I invested all I had and 300m before the finish line, I was next to Lisa. It was a magical moment that we could finish this marathon together. We did not think about what we were doing."
The women's marathon was very much a family affair as twins from North Korea and triplets from Estonia also took part. You sense the Germans would have had something to say about these times too.