Two Olympians Decide to Share a Gold Medal After a Heartwarming Tie

When it comes to Olympic competition, you only expect one athlete to come out on top and win the gold. But in the 2020 Olympic men’s high jump final, two competitors—and friends—took home a gold medal. Although this sounds bizarre and totally against the rules, thanks to a quirk in the regulations, athletes were able to choose to share first place. When the competition was over, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar were both awarded the top prize.

So, how did this happen? It began when both men completed a jump of 2.37 meters (7 feet 8 inches). But when both attempted to jump an Olympic-record high of 2.39 meters, they each missed it three times. Because of this, the men had two choices: settle it with a jump-off or share a gold medal. While officials were explaining the ways forward, Barshim cuts in and asks, “Can we have two golds?” He then reaches out to Tamberi and the two embrace; Tamberi goes wild in celebration—it’s his first Olympic medal.

“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 said after the co-win.

Although rivals, Tamberi and Barshim are friends outside the high jump event. They met at a competition in Canada in 2010 and have been there for each other ever since. “He's one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim shared. “We're always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message.”

Due to a quirk in the rules, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar were both awarded gold medals in the men's high jump competition.

The two are friends outside of the Olympics, and Tamberi was overjoyed to share.

Watch the final moments of the competition here.

h/t: [BuzzFeed]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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