The identical twins, representing the United States in the men's pair (M2-) event of the Olympic rowing races in Beijing, placed second in their Wednesday semifinal to advance to the grand final.
At the 500-meter mark, a quarter of the way through the race, the Winklevosses were in fifth place out of the six boats. But they powered through crews from Germany, Serbia, and Italy to cross the finish line just less than 2.5 seconds behind the winning Australian crew of Drew Ginn and Duncan Free. The U.S. pair's final time was 6:36.65.
The Winklevosses are best known in the tech world for having founded ConnectU, a social network for college students that once employed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a programmer. ConnectU's founders--the twins, along with Harvard classmate Divya Narendra--began seeking legal action against Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2004, long before its Silicon Valley deification.
They alleged that Zuckerberg, a Harvard colleague, had swiped ConnectU's business plan and development code in order to kick-start Facebook; courts, however, have been skeptical because of the casual, dorm room nature of the company's early days. No formal contracts were signed, weakening ConnectU argument, and even though the case has been settled, the plaintiffs have continued to fight due to a dispute over Facebook's valuation.
Things have thus far fared much better for the Winklevosses in Beijing, where rowing insiders say the twins were not expected to win a spot in the grand final. In the race on Saturday, they will be up against the German and Australian crews, as well as the top three finishers from the event's other semifinal: Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
If they place first, second, or third in that race, they'll have some medals to take home.