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 Mutaz Essa Barshim de Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi de Italia compartieron el oro en salto de altura. Getty Images
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italia shared gold in the high jump in Tokyo. Photo: Getty Images

For the first time in more than a century, two athletes shared a gold medal

After two hours of arduous competition, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi finished in a tie with 2.37 meter high jumps.

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Tokyo 2020 surprised again with one of the most moving moments of the Olympics during the athletics competition on Sunday, Aug. 1. Two athletes won the gold medal in the men's high jump.

After two hours of arduous competition, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi finished in a tie with 2.37 meter high jumps. To try to tiebreak, the players had to exceed 2.39 meters. Neither of them managed to achieve that mark, so an Olympic official offered them to share the gold.

"Can we have two golds?" was the only thing Barshim asked.

The official nodded and the two athletes decided to waive the tiebreaker and agree to share the gold medal and the title of Olympic champions in Tokyo 2020.

Friends off the track

"History, my friend!", were the words that Barshim told Tamberi before he started his run around the stadium with a face filled with joy.

Barshim and Tamberi's friendship began 11 years ago, during a World Youth Championship in Canada, where both competed for the first time.

In 2016, Tamberi suffered an ankle injury that left him out of competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"They told me I would not compete again," recalled the Italian.

A year later, he returned to the track, but did not have a good showing, so he did not want to see any of his teammates that night.

Barshim was the only one who insisted to get into his room to comfort him and chat for a while. Tamberi cried while they talked, and his friend told him: “Don't try to rush things. You had a serious injury. You are back, although nobody expected it. You just need to take your time.”

What these friends did not imagine is that almost four years after that conversation they would be sharing the Olympic podium in first place.

“I know I deserve the gold. Gianmarco too. This goes beyond sports, this is a message for the new generations,” said Barshim.

First shared podium since 1912
 
The last shared podium in the athletics category occurred at the 1912 Stockholm games, when athletes Ferdinand Bie from Norway and Hugo Weislander from Sweden occupied the podium after the disqualification of American Jim Thorpe for professionalism.
 
Seventy years later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) returned the medals to the North American, remaining with a shared gold podium for Bie in the pentathlon and Weislander in the decathlon.
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