Regardless of the distance between them, most twins share an incredible bond with each other throughout their lives. Jalynne Crawford can certainly attest to that, as she and her sister Janelle Leopoldo still love doing things together. And their close relationship reached another level in June 2018.
Born in December 1987, Crawford and Leopoldo come from a big family in Lancaster, California. Indeed, they grew up alongside their two older brothers Johnny and Jeremy Dantzscher, as well as three sisters named Jennifer, Joanne and Jamie. The twins both attended San Dimas High School during their teenage years, with one goal in mind.
Crawford and Leopoldo’s older sister Jamie was a member of the American gymnastics team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. Despite some excellent displays, though, they returned home without a medal, losing out to Romania, Russia and China. However, that changed in August 2010.
It was discovered that a member of the Chinese team had only been 14 at the time of the Sydney games. As a result, she’d been ineligible to compete, which led to China being stripped of their bronze medal. The U.S team were consequently awarded the prize instead, after initially finishing in fourth place.
But even prior to Jamie’s belated Olympics triumph, Crawford and Leopoldo both looked to follow in her footsteps. Just like their older sister, the twins became students at UCLA, joining the college’s gymnastics squad. During their time there, Crawford in particular enjoyed some notable success.
In 2004 Crawford took home two national prizes in the floor exercise and all-around categories. Those victories might not have come as much of a surprise to some, however. That’s because around two years earlier, she’d already cracked the Top 20 rankings at the USA National Championships.
Crawford went on to earn a history degree at the college before gaining a place at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Despite showing plenty of promise in gymnastics, though, she eventually retired from the sport. The aspiring athlete came to the decision in 2006 after suffering a long-term back injury.
Some 12 months prior to that disappointment, Crawford and Leopoldo had both found love at UCLA with fellow athletes. The latter formed a relationship with Jason Sergio Leopoldo, while her sister and Brandon Crawford also became a couple. This came around six years before Brandon’s baseball career took off.
Indeed, Crawford’s husband joined the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 MLB draft, although he didn’t make his debut until May 2011. Brandon featured in a game with the Milwaukee Brewers that day and slowly established himself as a key player in the team.
Since then, Brandon has scored close to 90 home runs from over 900 hits for the Giants, alongside more than 400 overall runs. And as the shortstop started to build his reputation in 2011, he also celebrated a significant moment in his personal life that November.
After more than half a decade together, Crawford and Brandon finally tied the knot, with the ceremony taking place in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Crawford’s sister eventually married Jason as well. Despite those big changes in their lives, though, the twins still maintained their close relationship.
As a result of their respective marriages, Crawford now resides with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona, while Leopoldo has remained in California. The pair continue to visit each other frequently, though, and their new families have started to grow in number.
In the past few years, Crawford had given birth to three children named Braylyn, Jayden and Braxton. Her sister had also begun a family of her own, delivering a baby boy. On that note, Leopoldo reflected on the particularly tight-knit relationship that she shares with her twin.
“Our family is extremely close and spend a lot of time together,” Leopoldo told Good Morning America in September 2018. “But there is a difference with Jalynne and me. Our husbands joke, ‘If you marry one, you marry the other,’ in the sense that we love being together so much and talking so much.”
“We feel when we are apart, there is a piece of us missing,” Leopoldo added. “Our kids already feel this bond as well.” However, while things appeared to be going well for the twins, 2017 proved to be an incredibly tough year for their family.
Crawford and Leopoldo each wanted to have another child at that time but were beset by a number of personal tragedies. Sadly, the path to having more children was fraught with difficulties and setbacks for both women. The hardships didn’t end there, though.
In April 2017 Crawford and Leopoldo’s older sister Jennifer suddenly passed away, after suffering a fatal asthma attack at just 38 years of age. The twins’ sibling was survived by her husband and two children. Meanwhile, their sister Jamie also faced down problems of a very different kind during this period.
The doctor of the American gymnastics team, Larry Nassar, was put on trial for committing unlawful acts against in excess of 150 female athletes. Jamie was one of the many women to come forward in that trial with a statement detailing her encounters with Nassar.
“Late summer of 2016 was when I began to understand Larry had sexually abused me all those years and that his treatments were not legitimate medical procedures,” Jamie told the court, according to ESPN. “I decided to speak up, even though at the time, I had no idea there were other victims. When I came forward in August of 2016, I was attacked on social media.”
“People did not believe me,” Jamie continued. “They believed [Nassar]. Instead of backing down, I continue to speak my truth because I couldn’t stand the thought of this happening to one of my nieces, nephews or any other child that may have crossed paths with Larry, or anyone like him.”
Despite those initial feelings of isolation, though, Jamie quickly discovered that this wasn’t a fight she would face by herself. “Every day after that, more women and young girls were coming forward,” she said. “I wasn’t alone. I’m here today with all these other women, not victims, but survivors to tell you, face to face, that your days of manipulation are over.”
On that note, Jamie had one last message for Nassar at the end of her powerful testimony. “I will continue to heal, and I will continue to stay strong, knowing I have a bright future ahead of me,” she continued. “All your future holds, all you get to look forward to now, is rotting in prison for the rest of your life.”
“And all you will ever feel now, Larry, is forever powerless,” Jamie added. “And now I can finally say that I am truly proud of myself for something I’ve done related to my elite gymnastics career.” Following those troubled times, though, the family were finally given some good news in September 2017.
After suffering repeated setbacks, Crawford discovered that she was pregnant again. And a few days later, the mom received a surprising message. Due to her own fertility issues, Leopoldo had undergone IVF treatment and soon found out that she was carrying her second child. On hearing the news, the California native didn’t hesitate in contacting her twin sister.
“When I got the text, my face lit up,” Crawford told People magazine in September 2018. “I got chills in my arm, and then seconds later she called and we were both like ‘Thank you, thank you God.’ It’s making me tear up right now. I was like, ‘This is God’s way of answering our prayers.’”
As it turned out, this was an ambition that Crawford and Leopoldo had harbored since childhood, and the latter touched upon those aspirations in her Good Morning America interview. “Growing up, my twin sister and I talked about how neat it would be to get married together and have babies together,” she said.
“Well, the marriage part did not work out, but the baby thing sure did!” Leopoldo continued. “I don’t think I ever imagined how special it would be until the journey began.” However, the twins faced an unavoidable problem when planning the births of their respective children.
Due to the sheer distance between Arizona and California, Crawford and Leopoldo’s parents wouldn’t be able to attend the two births. With that in mind, the sisters then came up with an idea that would solve the problem. So they decided it was time to talk with their physicians.
“We knew we wanted to have it on the same date so our parents could be there,” Crawford told People. “[The doctor] said it was fine. [The babies] were the same gestational age and due within a week of one another.” After getting the nod, Leopoldo prepared for a trip to Arizona a few weeks ahead of the big day.
From there, things progressed as per normal, with Crawford and Leopoldo reaching the 39-week mark. At that point, though, the twins needed to make another big decision before delivering their babies. Who was up first? Well, Crawford lifted the lid on that particular discussion.
“Everyone always asks how we decided who got to go first,” Crawford recalled on Good Morning America. “Since my husband only had a few days of paternity leave, Janelle offered me to go first, so we would have a few extra hours with him. Also, I’m two minutes older, and I found out I was pregnant four days earlier, so it made sense.”
After making their decision, Crawford gave birth to her baby boy via a cesarean on the morning of June 18, 2018. A couple of hours after that, Leopoldo followed suit, with the same physician carrying out his second C-section of the day. Just like her sister, she delivered a boy as well.
From there, Crawford and Leopoldo were transferred to two rooms next to each other as they started their recovery. Moreover, the former’s husband couldn’t help but share his experiences during that day on the San Francisco Giants’ blog page. The shortstop also lifted the lid on his conversation with the twins’ busy doctor.
“They probably would have stayed in the same room if they could,” Brandon said of his wife and her sister in the blog post. “As it was, they were next door to each other. Jalynne went into the delivery room first and gave birth to Bryson Ryder. Janelle went in right after her.”
“The same doctor delivered [Leopoldo’s] baby, also a boy, named Jace,” Brandon continued. “The doctor said it was a first for him. He’d never delivered the babies of two sisters – much less twins – on the same day, back to back. One of my sisters, Jenna, said the babies are ‘twa-sins’ – twin cousins.”
Some 24 hours after giving birth, Crawford took to Instagram to share a picture of herself and Leopoldo with their newborn children. In the accompanying message, the 31-year-old reiterated just how important the day had been for them and made reference to their childhood goal.
“Yesterday was a dream come true!” Crawford wrote on the social media website in June 2018. “[We] have always wanted to [be] pregnant together and it happened! My doctor was so amazing to take us both as patients and deliver us same-day! This was one of the best experiences of my life!”
Crawford then switched her attention to the two babies, highlighting the connection they would no doubt enjoy for the rest of their lives. “Bryson and Jace will have a special bond and always share their birthday!” she added. That heartfelt post earned over 12,000 likes on Instagram while also generating more than 500 comments.
After spending a little more time in the hospital, Crawford and Leopoldo finally returned home with their baby boys. Speaking of his son’s first few days with them, Brandon noted one thing in particular. “Bryson’s a good sleeper so far, which is a real gift for everybody,” he wrote. “Jalynne’s actually had to wake him up a few times for feedings.”
With four young children now under her roof, Crawford revealed that she and Brandon weren’t going to have any more. The mom wasn’t entirely sure about her twin, though. “I know she and her husband want four kids as well, so they’re not done,” Crawford told People.