2020 Tokyo Olympics: High Jumpers Choose to Share Gold Medal in Emotional Moment

by Katie Maloney

Although it often seems that the Olympics have become more about advertisements and ratings than the actual sports, the games truly are about bringing people together to do what they love. And this recent moment from Olympic high jumpers, Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, proves that sportsmanship is still alive and well at the Olympics.

During yesterday’s event, both men cleared the 2.37m mark in the high jump final. Eventual bronze medalist Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus also cleared that mark. However, Nedaseku had more failed attempts than his competitors and was thus finished in third place. Barshim and Tamberi cleared the height until 2.39m.

Having two gold medalists hasn’t ever really been a thing before at the Olympics. So, an official suggested a jump-off in order to break the tie between Barshim and Tamberi and determine who would take home gold. But the men had a different idea in mind. They decided to share the prize. They even asked the official, “Can we have two golds?”

High Jumpers Decide to Share Gold During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

In a burst of admiration and respect, Tamberi jumped up on his opponent and the two hugged. It was a beautiful and emotional moment before the two enjoyed their win at the Olympic Stadium. During a post-event interview, the two men talked about their decision to share gold. Barshim said that the moment is a part of “history” now.

“Coming here and being at the top of the game, to win the Olympics, it’s a dream come true,” said Barshim. “Once we finished with that 2.39m jump he just looked at me, I look at him, and we just understood that there was no need to go (and compete). It wasn’t even a question. This is a real moment here.”

Barsham added that their decision surpassed anything related to the sport.

“This is beyond sport,” said Barsham. ‘This is sportsmanship, and this is the message we deliver to the young generation.”

Tamberi agreed with his co-medalist and added, “Sharing with a friend is more beautiful.”

What makes the moment even more beautiful is that this moment was years in the making for both athletes. The 2020 Tokyo games are Barshim’s third Olympics. He competed in 2012 at the London Games and took home bronze. He then competed again at the 2016 Rio Games and won silver. So, the third time was the charm for taking home gold. Unfortunately, Tamberi was unable to compete at the last Olympics because of an injury. So, competing this year and taking home gold was even more significant. Congrats to both athletes! Thank you for showing us what the Olympics really are all about.