In Pictures

How two friends decided to share Olympic gold in Tokyo

Tamberi, Barshim shared a gold in a competition settled not by clearing the top height but through a subtle nod.

Gold medallists Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men's high jump. [Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP]
Gold medallists Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men's high jump. [Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP]

Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar agreed to share a gold medal at the Tokyo Games on Sunday in a competition settled not by clearing the top height but with a subtle nod.

In a huddle with track officials, the high jumpers were given the option to settle the tie with a jump-off.

Barshim had a better idea: How about two golds?

The official said that was possible.

Barshim nodded and Tamberi instantly accepted, slapping Barshim’s hand and jumping to hug him.

It would be far from the last celebration the two athletes, who have been good friends since 2017, would have.

“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. This is the message we deliver to the young generation.”

Both high jumpers were perfect until the bar was set to the Olympic-record height of 2.39m (seven feet, 10 inches).

Each missed three times. The rest is history.

Barshim and Tamberi have been good friends since 2017. Both 30-year-old Barshim and 29-year-old Tamberi did not have a failed attempt until they attempted to clear the 2.39-metre mark. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Barshim and Tamberi have been good friends since 2017. Both 30-year-old Barshim and 29-year-old Tamberi did not have a failed attempt until they attempted to clear the 2.39-metre mark. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
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Barshim reacts during the final of the men's high jump. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Barshim reacts during the final of the men's high jump. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Tamberi reacts after he wins joint gold with Barshim. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Tamberi reacts after he wins joint gold with Barshim. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]
Tamberi celebrates after winning the joint gold. [David Goldman/AP Photo]
Tamberi celebrates after winning the joint gold. [David Goldman/AP Photo]
For Barshim it completes a full house of Olympic medals having taken bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]
For Barshim it completes a full house of Olympic medals having taken bronze in London in 2012 and silver in Rio five years ago. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]
Barshim missed a large part of 2018 with a serious ankle injury, bouncing back to win world outdoor gold on home soil in 2019. [Morry Gash/AP Photo]
Barshim missed a large part of 2018 with a serious ankle injury, bouncing back to win world outdoor gold on home soil in 2019. [Morry Gash/AP Photo]
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Gold medalist Barshim celebrates with his team. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]
Gold medalist Barshim celebrates with his team. [Cameron Spencer/Pool Photo via AP]
Tamberi added Olympic gold to a world indoor and a European title, both in 2016, and celebrated exuberantly despite the absence of spectators at the pandemic-affected games. [Martin Meissner/AP Photo]
Tamberi added Olympic gold to a world indoor and a European title, both in 2016, and celebrated exuberantly despite the absence of spectators at the pandemic-affected games. [Martin Meissner/AP Photo]

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