'Can we have two golds?': High jumpers agree to split gold medal in stunning display of Olympic sportsmanship

'Can we have two golds?': High jumpers agree to split gold medal in stunning display of Olympic sportsmanship
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Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim embrace after deciding to split gold.
Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim. Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi both won gold in the Olympic high jump.

  • Both men cleared a jump of 2.37 meters but failed to clear the next bar.

  • Rather than a jump-off, both agreed to split gold and jumped into each other's arms to celebrate.

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The men's high jump final at Tokyo 2020 was a dead heat.

All three medalists cleared the bar at 2.37 meters, but Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus was handed bronze due to previous missed attempts.

The two remaining athletes - Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi - had yet to miss an attempt.

When the bar was raised to 2.39 meters, a mark that would have tied the Olympic record, neither man could clear it. The high jump was stuck at a stalemate.

After their misses, an Olympic official came over to Barshim and Tamberi, saying that they could go to a jump-off to determine who took home the gold medal.

"Can we have two golds?" Barshim asked.

"It's possible," the official replied.

By the time the words were halfway out of the official's mouth, Barshim and Tamberi had already looked at each other, given a nod, and leaped into each other's arms.

They had both won gold at Tokyo 2020.

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Both men were overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment.

Tamberi's sudden embrace had surprised Barshim, who was grinning ear-to-ear after their unified victory. Tamberi then ran around the track, screaming at the top of his lungs.

Eventually, the two men found their way back to each other and took some time around the track together, both wearing the flags of their respective countries.

Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi celebrate their gold medal win.
Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

"I still can't believe it happened," Tamberi said after the win, per the Associated Press. "Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful. ... It was just magical."

Barshim was equally thrilled with the result, saying that both he and Tamberi had put in a performance worthy of a gold medal.

"For me, coming here, I know for a fact that for the performance I did, I deserve that gold," Barshim said. "He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold."

"This is beyond sport," Barshim said. "This is the message we deliver to the young generation."

On Sunday, Barshim and Tamberi delivered that message loud and clear.

Two golds are better than one.

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