Story at a glance
- Two Olympians chose to split gold medal honors in the high jump finals in Tokyo.
- Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi made the decision in lieu of a jump off.
- “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.”
Two Olympians matched their opponents’ mark at nearly 7 feet, 8 inches in the high jump finals in Tokyo — both will take home a gold medal.
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi decided to split the honor after each failed to make it over the bar.— which could have led to a jump off. The pair missed the 7-feet, 10-inch mark three times after clearing the bar.
Barshim asked an official if it was possible to end the competition in a tie, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The official said it could be, and his fellow competitor and friend agreed to the conclusion.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Tamberi said, according to The AP. “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful … It was just magical.”
READ MORE STORIES ABOUT THE OLYMPICS
“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,” Barshim added. “This is the message we deliver to the young generation.”
Barshim, now a three time medalist after picking one up in both 2012 and 2016, said the pair had previously envisioned a scenario where the competition ended in a tie.
“We just said, ‘Imagine,’” Barshim said. “Today, it happened.”
“He’s one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim concluded. “We’re always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message.”
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA