Italy‘s Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim both won the gold medal in the Olympic men’s high jump after being offered the chance to share the top prize by the official.
After three failures each at 2.39, they ended up tied and entered a conversation with an Olympic official, who first offered them a ‘jump-off’ to decide the matter.
The Qatari then asked: ‘Can we not have two golds?’
Gianmarco Tamberi won the gold medal in the men’s high jump along with Mutaz Essa Barshim
Barshim tied with Tamberi and the pair agreed to both take the gold medal when offered it
The official responded, ‘It’s possible if you both decide’ and before he had finished speaking Barshim offered Tamberi his hand to agree to sharing the gold and the pair shared an emotional hug before Tamberi wheeled away in celebration.
Both men were clean at every attempt to 2.37 meters and both missed all three attempts at the Olympic record of 2.39.
The 30-year-old Barshim was the silver medallist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and was also on the podium at the 2012 London Games. He won the world championship gold medal at home in Qatar in 2019.
Tamberi is a former world indoor champion.
Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus won the bronze medal. He also cleared 2.37 for a national record.
Barshim added a coveted Olympic gold to his list of accolades.
At the 2012 London Games Barshim won a bronze, which was later upgraded to silver. He picked up another silver in Rio de Janeiro four years later and then won two successive world titles in 2017 and 2019.
His personal best of 2.43m is the second-highest jump of all time and is only behind Javier Sotomayor’s world record mark of 2.45 set in 1993.
South Korean Woo Sang-hyeok and Australian Brandon Starc, the younger brother of cricketer Mitchell, both cleared 2.35 to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Both men were clean at every attempt to 2.37 meters and missed all three attempts at 2.39.
The pair looked more than happy to share the glory, with Tamberi howling in delight and rolling around the track, having missed out on competing in Rio five years ago due to injury.
The decision to share the medal was overwhelmingly well received on social media.
Team GB athlete Eilish McColgan tweeted: ‘Such an incredible moment. Two of the nicest people in our sport sharing gold.’
British high jumper Emily Borthwick added: ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying.’
Athletics performance coach Steve Magness said on his Twitter account: ‘The sharing of the Olympic gold from Barshim and Tamberi and emotional outlet right after from both is what it’s all about. What a moment in the high jump.’
USA Track and Field tweeted: ‘Love the sportsmanship from Italy and Qatar in the men’s high jump final!’