How two friends decided to share Olympic gold in Tokyo

Tamberi, Barshim shared a gold in a competition settled not by clearing the top height but through a subtle nod.

Gold medallists Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men's high jump. [Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP]
Gold medallists Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men’s high jump. [Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP]

2 Aug 2021

Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar agreed to share a gold medal at the Tokyo Games on Sunday in a competition settled not by clearing the top height but with a subtle nod.

In a huddle with track officials, the high jumpers were given the option to settle the tie with a jump-off.

Barshim had a better idea: How about two golds?

Barshim and Tamberi have been good friends since 2017. Both 30-year-old Barshim and 29-year-old Tamberi did not have a failed attempt until they attempted to clear the 2.39-metre mark. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Barshim and Tamberi have been good friends since 2017. Both 30-year-old Barshim and 29-year-old Tamberi did not have a failed attempt until they attempted to clear the 2.39-metre mark. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]

The official said that was possible.

Barshim nodded and Tamberi instantly accepted, slapping Barshim’s hand and jumping to hug him.

It would be far from the last celebration the two athletes, who have been good friends since 2017, would have.

Barshim reacts during the final of the men's high jump. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Barshim reacts during the final of the men’s high jump. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]

“For me, coming here, I know for a fact that for the performance I did, I deserve that gold,” Barshim said. “He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold. This is beyond sport. This is the message we deliver to the young generation.”

Both high jumpers were perfect until the bar was set to the Olympic-record height of 2.39m (seven feet, 10 inches).

Each missed three times. The rest is history.

Tamberi reacts after he wins joint gold with Barshim. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Tamberi reacts after he wins joint gold with Barshim. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Gold medalist Barshim celebrates with his team. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]
Gold medalist Barshim celebrates with his team. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.