The spirit of these two athletes is even more inspirational than their impressive sporting abilities.
Being an Olympian demands focus, determination, and a competitive spirit (along with all those athletic abilities!). Plus, representing your country is a lot of pressure. However, two athletes recently showed the world another quality that is definitely worth championing.
Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi were competing in the high jump on Sunday when they reached a stalemate. Both men had managed to jump over a staggering 2.37 meters with no faults along the way. However, after three attempts neither managed the next level of 2.39 meters.
An Olympic official suggested a jump off between the two friends and rivals to determine who would win the coveted gold medal. But Barshim had another plan to reward their efforts.
“I look at him [Tamberi], 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,” he shared with the world’s media, as reported by USA Today.
“Can we have two golds?” he asked the official.
The official agreed and the two men jumped for joy, grabbing each other in jubilation, and in friendship. This was the first time a gold medal had been shared since 1912.
“He is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message,” shared Barshim, the joint gold medalist.
The decision to share the medal was particularly meaningful to Tamberi. The Italian had suffered an ankle injury that prevented him from competing in the Rio Olympics in 2016, and it nearly put an end to his career altogether. So this year he brought along his cast to this year’s Olympics with “Road to Tokyo 2021” to inspire him along the way.
For Barshim, the gold has topped off his already impressive medal collection, having received a bronze and a silver medal in 2012 and 2016 respectively.