Olympic High Jumpers Opt to Share First Place in Emotional Moment: 'Can We Have 2 Golds?'

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Mutaz Essa Barshim
Mutaz Essa Barshim

Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi hugs Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim

Rather than move into a jump-off during Sunday's men's high jump final, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi opted to share the gold medal in the event — in one of the most emotional moments caught on camera.

Barshim and Tamberi had both cleared the 2.37m mark, as did eventual bronze medalist Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus. While Nedaseku had more failed attempts than his competitors and was thus put in third place, Barshim and Tamberi had cleared the height until 2.39m.

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An official presented the option for a jump-off for the gold medal, but the men instead opted to share the top prize — even asking the official: "Can we have two golds?" Soon, photographers snapped as Tamberi, 29, excitedly jumped up on his opponent to hug him, before both reveled in their win at the Olympic Stadium.

Speaking to reporters in a press conference afterward, Barshim, 30, said the moment was "history."

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"Coming here and being at the top of the game, to win the Olympics, it's a dream come true," said Barshim. "Once we finished with that 2.39m jump he just looked at me, I look at him, and we just understood that there was no need to go (and compete). It wasn't even a question."

Continued Barshim, "This is a real moment here."

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Tokyo was Barshim's third Olympics. He won bronze at the 2012 London Games, and silver at the 2016 Rio Games in the same event. Tamberi was unable to compete at the last Olympics due to an injury.

Said Barshim on Sunday, "This is beyond sport. This is sportsmanship, and this is the message we deliver to the young generation."

Echoed his co-medalist: "Sharing with a friend is more beautiful."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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