Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi call it a draw, generously choosing to share the Olympic gold medal in high jump.
After a two-hour-long competition, the pair were the last standing, reaching a height of 2.37m in the high jump.
Both failed to reach the Olympic record of 2.39m, so officials gave them a choice to compete in a jump-off to break the tie or share the gold medal. Barshim and Tamberi chose the latter.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Tamberi stated. “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful … It was just magical.”
The moment was one of incredible sportsmanship, and the two athletes were shown embracing as they celebrated the news.
The win marked the first joint Olympic podium in athletics since 1912.
The true essence of sportsmanship.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) August 1, 2021
Both Barshim and Tamberi are no strangers to a challenge.
Barshim recounted his long and rewarding journey to the Olympics: “I have been through a lot. It’s been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of setbacks. But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It’s really worth it now in this moment.”
Barshim is the second person in history to win a gold medal for Qatar, after weightlifter Fares Elbakh ranked first in the men’s 96kg event on Saturday.
Tamberi missed out on the last Olympics in Rio, after suffering a career-threatening injury to his left ankle.
“I was told in 2016 just before Rio there was a risk I wouldn’t be able to compete any more. It’s been a long journey“, he said.
“After my injuries, I just wanted to come back, but now I have this gold, it’s incredible. I dreamed of this so many times“,
Tamberi kept his ankle cast as a memory of his journey, with “Road to Tokyo 2020” written on it.
He had the cast with him as he celebrated his Olympic gold medal.
This had me in tears.
Right before doing last jump, and then after winning high jump, Gimbo Tamberi placed on track the plaster cast he saved since 2016 when he broke his leg 15 days before Rio2016.
Climbing. Falling. Rising back.
It’s Italy 2021 pic.twitter.com/yKsbp7deT1
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 1, 2021