Faced with a 'jump off' in Tokyo, these Olympic athletes chose to share gold

Italy has been left overjoyed by an amazing athletics double as Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi both struck gold in the space of 10 minutes.

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy after deciding to share the gold medal.

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy after deciding to share the gold medal. Source: Picture alliance via Getty Images

Italians have been left elated - and not a little stunned - as compatriots Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi wrote two of the great golden stories of the Olympics in the space of 10 minutes.

Jacobs won the men's 100 metres final to become the first Italian to take the most coveted title in athletics just a few minutes after Tamberi had agreed to share the men's high jump gold with his friend, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim.

Until the Tokyo Olympics few Italians had even heard of Jacobs, who has made impressive progress over recent years and broke the European record twice on Sunday en route to victory.

"I am proud of you, I have been following you, you are honouring Italy," Prime Minister Mario Draghi told the two athletes by telephone.

Jacobs' mother Viviana, speaking from the hotel she runs near Italy's Lake Garda, said she had had a feeling on Sunday morning that something big was going to happen, but not as big as this.

"It's a miracle. He's the new (Usain) Bolt. I'm so happy for him," she told Reuters.

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs is congratulated by fellow countrymen Gianmarco Tamberi after winning the men's 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source: AFP

Jacobs, who was born in the United States to an Italian mother and a US serviceman father, was brought up by his mother after his parents separated when he was a baby.

"He's always been a little crazy, living day by day, taking everything with a smile. Today the crazy long jumper became the crazy sprint champ," his mother said.

The high jump produced an equally emotional story after Barshim, 30, and the 29-year-old Tamberi had ended tied and were given the choice of sharing the gold or having a jump-off for victory.

"Can we have two golds?", Barshim asked an official, who nodded.

The two athletes clasped hands and whooped for joy.

"I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it. We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need," Barshim said.

"He is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message."

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrates sharing the gold medal with Muta Essa Barshim of Qatar in the High Jump on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Barshim and Tamberi ended up tied after clearing 2.37 metres and then missing three attempts each at 2.39 metres. 

It was also a win-win situation for Tamberi, who broke his ankle days before the Rio Games in 2016.

"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.

"I was told in 2016 just before Rio there was a risk I wouldn't be able to compete any more. It's been a long journey."

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrates sharing the gold medal with Muta Essa Barshim of Qatar in the High Jump on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus also cleared the 2.37m mark but had more failed attempts, resulting in the bronze medal.

South Korean Woo Sang-hyeok and Australian Brandon Starc, the younger brother of cricketer Mitchell, both cleared 2.35m to finish fourth and fifth respectively. 


Share
Published 2 August 2021 at 6:09am, updated 2 August 2021 at 7:07am
Source: AAP - SBS

Topics