High jumpers from Qatar, Italy decide to share gold medal; emotional celebration on track ensues

TOKYO — It was the moment they had long dreamed of: The Olympic final in the men’s high jump, the final bar, two men left standing.

Then, when Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi both failed to clear the last height, they were left with a choice: Jump-off for gold, or share it?

They decided to share it.

Tamberi, overcome with emotion, threw his body on the ground and started screaming and crying with excitement. He then leaped into Barshim’s arms in celebration.

Television cameras later capture Barshim in the crowd, hugging his coach in tears. Tamberi went on to cry on his knees as he tightly gripped the Italian flag draped over his shoulders and a cast from a previous injury that he used as motivation.

“After my injuries I just wanted to come back, but now I have this gold, it’s incredible. I dreamed of this so many times,” Tamberi said.

During an interview on the track after the day’s competition wrapped, the newly-crowned world’s fastest man, Italian Lamont Marcell Jacbos, ran up to his fellow countryman and kissed him on the cheek. The two then held each other’s faces and celebrated their wins together.

Tamberi and Barshim will both go down as gold medalists in high jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

“It is amazing. This is a dream I don’t want to wake up from,” Barshim said. “I have been through a lot. It’s been five years that I have been waiting, with injuries and a lot of set-backs.

“But we are here today sharing this moment and all the sacrifices. It’s really worth it now in this moment.”

Makaim Nedasekau of Belarus took bronze. Team USA’s JuVaughn Harrison, who will also compete in the long jump final Monday, finished seventh.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tokyo Olympics: Qatar, Italy high jumpers share gold

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