The Tokyo Games was teeming* with Olympic spirit even before the moment that sportsmanship became more important than winning.
In the men’s high jump final, Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi made the stunning* decision to share the honour, opting to tie for first place, meaning both men were awarded the coveted gold medal.
Barshim and Tamberi each recorded a best clearance* of 2.37m and – given the choice of a playoff or sharing the title – the two men hugged it out on the track in emotional scenes.
For Barshim, 30, it completes a full house of Olympic medals: bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago, adding to his world title in the event.
Barshim missed a large part of 2018 with a serious ankle injury, bouncing back to win world outdoor gold on home soil in 2019.
“This is a dream I don’t want to wake up from,” he said. “I have been through a lot. It’s been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of setbacks.
“But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It’s really worth it now in this moment.”
Italy’s Tamberi added Olympic gold to a world indoor and separate European title, both claimed in 2016. The 29-year-old celebrated with a joyous display of emotion and affection.
His excitement was understandable given he suffered a serious Achilles tendon* injury weeks away from the 2016 Games – the original plaster cast making its own trackside appearance after the final.