How’s this for friendly competition?
Olympic high jumpers — and best friends — Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi convinced Games officials to let them share gold on Sunday instead of jumping to decide the winner.
Both Barshim, 30, and Tamberi, 29, had cleared jumps of 2.37 meters, then failed to clear the 2.39 meter hurdle three times each. But Barshim resisted when an Olympic officials offered him to “jump-off” against his Italian competitor.
“Can we have two golds?” the Qatari asked the official — who nodded approvingly, causing the self-described “best friends” to clasp hands and whoop for joy.
“I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it,” Barshim said afterward.
“We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need.”
Barshim called Tamberi “one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track.”
“We work together,” he said of his European pal. “This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message.”
Tamberi, who sat out the 2016 Rio Games with a broken ankle, said it was “incredible” to win gold after being told he may never compete again.
“After my injuries I just wanted to come back, but now I have this gold, it’s incredible,” he said. “I dreamed of this so many times.”
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Barshim won silver medals in Rio and in London in 2012.
His personal best of 2.43 meters is the second-highest jump ever.