‘Can we have two golds?’: Qatar and Italy share Olympic high jump medal in emotional scenes

‘I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it. We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done’

Alastair Jamieson
Monday 02 August 2021 09:08
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Qatar and Italy share Olympic high jump medal in emotional scenes

The men’s high jump gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games was shared between Italy and Qatar in a dramatic conclusion and scenes of high emotion.

Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim added Olympic gold to his list of accolades — and persuaded organisers to share it with his friend and rival, Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi.

Both athletes ended with jumps of 2.37 metres and had no failed attempts until they attempted to clear 2.39.

After three failures each at that height, an Olympic official first offered them a jump-off to decide the winner.

“Can we have two golds?”, Barshim asked him.

The official nodded, and the two athletes clasped hands and whooped for joy.

It is thought to be the first time since 1912 that a gold medal has been shared in athletics.

“I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it. We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need,” Barshim said.

“He is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message.”

It was also a win-win situation for the Italian, who missed out on competing in Rio five years ago due to a career-threatening ankle injury.

Tamberi brought the cast he wore in recovery from that injury along with him to the Olympic Stadium with the words ‘Road to Tokyo 2021’ written on it.

Barshim added gold to the bronze and silver he won in 2012 and 2016 respectively, while Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus took bronze.

Gianmarco Tamberi with the cast from an injury he suffered in 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

The decision to share the medal was overwhelmingly well received on social media.

Team GB athlete Eilish McColgan tweeted: “Such an incredible moment. Two of the nicest people in our sport sharing gold.”

British high jumper Emily Borthwick added: “I’m not crying, you’re crying.”

Athletics performance coach Steve Magness said on his Twitter account: “The sharing of the Olympic gold from Barshim and Tamberi and emotional outlet right after from both is what it’s all about. What a moment in the high jump.”

USA Track and Field tweeted: “Love the sportsmanship from Italy and Qatar in the men’s high jump final!”

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