Two athletes who agreed to share gold medals in the Olympics men’s high jump competition, in what is likely to be remembered as one of the most heartwarming moments of the Tokyo Games, have been flooded with praise.
Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar were locked in first place after a tough few hours of competing on Sunday. The two athletes, who are also good friends, were then given the option to settle matters with a jump-off.
Barshim had a better idea: how about two golds?
The official said that was possible. Barshim nodded and footage from Tokyo showed Tamberi instantly accepting, slapping Barshim’s hand and jumping into his arms. Tamberi then belly-flopped hard onto the track, rolled around a few times and screamed.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” he said. “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful … It was just magical.”
The charismatic Italian continued to celebrate, delivering hugs and kisses to people as he jumped around the track.
Barshim, while not quite as effusive as his rival, agreed the Olympic victory needed to be shared.
“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.”
It was a display of sportsmanship that delighted Olympics spectators around the world. The reaction on social media was swift, with some describing it as the best moment of the Games.