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#pounditWednesday, September 22, 2021

Video: High jumpers go nuts celebrating their shared gold medals

Gianmarco Tamberi Mutaz Barshim

There were two gold medals awarded in the men’s high jump at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, and the two athletes who shared them could not have been more thrilled. In fact, they voluntarily chose that outcome.

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar were both perfect in clearing bars in the high jump final until the height was moved to the Olympic record of 2.39 meters. Neither could clear that height, with each missing three times. They then met with a track official who explained that they could go to a jump-off if they wanted to decide who takes the gold and who takes the silver. Before the official could finish, Barshim interrupted and asked if both he and Tamberi could be awarded a gold medal.

The jumpers had that option, and they chose to go that route. To say they were both ecstatic would be an understatement:

Barshim and Tamberi have competed against one another in the past. Barshim says the two have developed a close friendship over the years, which made sharing the gold that much sweeter.

“He’s one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim said, according to The Associated Press. “We’re always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message. … Appreciate what he’s done, he appreciates what I’ve done. This is amazing.”

Tamberi broke his ankle just before the Rio Olympics in 2016, and he has kept his cast for five years as a reminder of everything he has overcome. You could tell how much the gold medal meant to him with how he reacted. Those are the moments that make the Olympics so special.

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