The smile etched on the faces of Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi when they decided to share Olympic gold in the men’s high jump at Tokyo 2020 remained as they explained their emotions to Eurosport’s Greg Rutherford.
An astonishing conclusion to the high jump on Sunday saw Qatar’s Barshim and Italy’s Tamberi opt to both take home gold after they could not be separated.
Neither of them had been able to land a jump of 2.39m - which would have matched the Olympic record - but were faultless at 2.37m.
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“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked as the official explained what next for the two athletes. A response of “it’s possible” was enough for Barshim to then declare “history, my friend!” as he embraced his rival.
There were then wild celebrations as the pair revelled in their shock shared triumph, and when speaking to London 2012 long jump champion Rutherford, that joy was still more than evident.

'Let's have one each!' - Amazing moment Barshim and Tamberi decide to share high jump gold

“I’m still trying to realise the moment,” Barshim said. “You know how it is Greg, you’re an Olympic champion yourself. Coming here and winning Olympic gold, it’s unreal.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s the only thing that’s missing, I’ve won everything, that’s the only thing. I don’t want to retire and say that’s the one thing missing. I just feel relieved, and to share it with this dude I can’t be more happy.”
Barshim won bronze at London 2012 then silver at Rio 2016. He was also the world champion in 2017 and 2019.
Meanwhile, Tamberi was world indoor champion in 2016 but sat out of Rio due to injury. He was in a cast and crutches five years ago, and brought the cast with him to Tokyo – holding it during his celebrations and interview with Rutherford.

Gianmarco Tamberi mit dem Gips einer früheren Verletzung

Image credit: Getty Images

He said: “It means everything to me. I put my life into this, I wanted it too much. I never stopped dreaming it could happen. I remember like yesterday when I was crying in the crowd in 2016 watching these guys jumping, and I couldn’t because I was with this [the cast] and the crutches.
“Man, that’s like a story with a great end. I will tell my son, when I have a son!
On his injury woe, he added: “It was really frustrating, because I was never satisfied with a good result after my injury. I passed through every step to go up, but I wasn’t satisfied because I wanted to be first in the world and Olympic champion.
“Even if I won the European Championship and I jump high again, I didn’t care, because I wanted to be Olympic champion. Now I’m really Olympic champion, I can’t believe it.”

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Regarding their chat with the official, Barshim said the pair were barely taking note of what was being said after it became clear they could share gold.
Barshim said: “They tried to explain to us, guys you are tied. We weren’t even listening, we were already celebrating.”
Tamberi then added: “They didn’t want us to do 400 metres with the flag, but I said we deserve it.”
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