In a heartwarming moment, Qatar’s Mutaz-Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi decided to share the Olympic gold medal in high jump at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Barshim, 30, and Tamberi, 29, both recorded clearances of 2.37 meters (7.78 feet) on Sunday Aug 1st but were both unsuccessful at clearing the 2.39 meter (7.84 feet) mark after three tries each.
An Olympic official then offered them a “jump-off” as a tiebreaker. Instead, Barshim asks the official: “Can we have two golds?”
As the official nodded, the two men clasped hands, whooping and crying tears of joy as they celebrated on the track.
“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, the current indoor World Champion, 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.”
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Tamberi, the 2016 indoor World champion said. “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful… It was just magical.”
Barshim and Tamberi are rivals but also friends, having met a competition in Canada in 2010, according to USA Today. Since then, they have supported each other through international competitions and injuries, which both of them had battled with leading up to the Games.
Viewers around the world were touched by the moment of true camaraderie and sportsmanship.
“To me, this is among the most beautiful images of these Olympics,” an Italian fan wrote Twitter. “This is the true meaning of sport.”