Now this is how you take gold. Hats off to Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy for agreeing to split the title down the middle, an unprecedented act in high-jump history. Their mutual respect and abiding friendship broke through the tense would-be tiebreak, the first time since 1912 that the Olympics saw joint gold winners—by choice.
Here’s how it went down, according to HuffPost:
Both Barshim, 30, and Tamberi, 29, ended with jumps of 2.37 meters. Neither had any failed attempts.
When the bar was raised to 2.39 meters, the Olympic record, neither jumper could clear it. The competition was tied.
After three failed attempts each at that height, an Olympic official offered them a jump-off to decide the winner.
“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked him.
“It’s possible. If you both decide…” the official said.
He’d barely finished his sentence before the two men had looked at each other, slapped hands and Tamberi leapt into Barshim’s arms.
After initially tying, Barshim said, “He look at me. I look at him. We just understood. There was no need to go [again]. That’s it.”
If you score big one day, reader, at “sport” or any other endeavor, don’t hog gold. I promise the same.*
Share your stories of gold, silver, bronze, honorable mention, and abject failure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Exclusions apply. Void where prohibited. Not valid on Saturdays or Sundays, when promiser is sole winner at all athletic events. Promise expires at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on date of promiser’s choice, and may be revoked without notice.