‘Never seen anything like this!’ Italian and Qatari athletes in tears as they SHARE gold
Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim were left battling it out during the men’s high jump final in Tokyo but both athletes were unable to clear their final jump to beat the other man. After three failed attempts, both Olympians spoke with officials to discuss what their options were with the option of sharing the gold medal being offered. Immediately, Mr Barshim extended his hand to his opponent as the pair joyously embraced and accepted the offer in a rare but perfectly legal turn of events.
Under normal rules, Mr Tamberi and Mr Barshim would have undergone a “jump-off” to break the stalemate but both men has no misses until the 2.37m jump.
Officials told the athletes they had the option to share the top podium together and immediately took up the offer with Mr Tamberi falling to the floor, crying in celebration.
Mr Barshim celebrated in front of the Tokyo crowd and ran to his team to hug them.
Mr Tamberi said after: “This night is memorable and we made our dreams come true.
“We have passed through many difficult times and now to win the Olympic championship together – I don’t know what to say.
“I have dreamed, we have dreamed it, so many times and now we did it.”
Mr Barshim added: “I’m really happy. It’s an amazing feeling, I’m proud of myself, winning the gold at the Olympics is a dream.
“I’m really grateful and we have been through a lot.”
Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus took the bronze medal.
Mr Tamberi suffered from a bad achilles injury several years ago which threatened his chances of taking part in Tokyo 2020.
The Italian star gave a nod to overcoming his injury and brought along his leg cast to the tournament and threw it on the track during his final performance.
Mr Barshim also suffered from an ankle injury in 2018 which forced him to miss the sports season that year and hoped he would be able to recover in time for the Olympics originally being held in 2020.
The victory brings Italy to ninth place on the Olympic table, with four golds, eight silvers and 15 bronzes.
Mr Barshim is now one of two Qatari gold medalists with the country sitting joint 21st on the table.
Sharing gold medals is an uncommon option for some athletes who are unable to beat their opponents in the final.
In the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, bobsledders Friedrich and Thorsten Margis from Germany and Canada’s Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz recorded identical times over their four runs.
The teams decided to share the gold medal, making them the ninth people to do so in Winter Olympic history.
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