Friends and co-gold medalists Mutaz Essa Barshim (L) and Gianmarco Tamberi (R) celebrating their win. Credit: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN / POOL / AFP Via Getty Images
Many people consider the Olympics to be the ultimate platform for competition, and though that may be true, some of the best Olympic moments happen when athletes work together.
On Sunday, for instance, not one but two athletes from competing countries took home an Olympic gold medal after a competition resulted in a rare but heartwarming tie. How? Well, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi — who happen to be friends on and off the track —agreed to share a gold medal in the men's high jump.
Both athletes performed successful high jumps at 2.37 meters (7 feet, 8 inches) but each missed the Olympic-record high jump of 2.39 meters (7 feet, 10 inches) three times. Rather than embarking on another tie-breaking jump-off, the two decided to be co-gold medalists.
During the deciding huddle, Barshim asked a track official if they could each have a gold medal. After learning that a tie was possible, the competitors agreed, embraced, and went on to celebrate with their fans.
Peacock's official Twitter account tweeted a clip of the special moment, and we're not going to lie, you may get emotional.
"Talk about Olympic spirit. The Olympic spirit is to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic sphere which requires mutual understanding with the spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play," a commentator can be heard saying during the clip. "And we see this explained today so beautifully as they both get to share this gold medal moment."
"I still can't believe it happened," Tamberi told the Associated Press. "Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful. ... It was just magical."
"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 gold will be Barshim's third medal (all in the high jump), and Tamberi's first Olympic medal.
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