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High jumpers — longtime friends and rivals — decide to share gold medal

The two Olympians' friendship dates back over a decade.
/ Source: TODAY

Two is better than one, right?

Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim shared the gold medal during the men’s high jump final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. According to NBC Sports, both athletes completed a jump of 2.37 meters (approximately 7 feet 9 ¼ inches). The two men then had to complete a jump of 2.39 meters, but after three attempts, neither athletes could make the distance.

Gold medalist Mutaz Essa Barshim (L) of Team Qatar and silver medalist Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy celebrate on the track following the Men's High Jump Final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. (Photo by Christian Petersen / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)CHRISTIAN PETERSEN / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Following the tie, Tamberi, 29, and Barshim, 30, were called towards the official, who began to explain that they could continue with a jump-off to determine the winner.

Instead, Barshim interrupted the official to ask, “Can we have two golds?”

The moment that the official told Barshim, “It’s possible,” the athlete immediately reached out to Tamberi to shake his hand, solidifying the decision to share the gold medal.

Tamberi immediately embraced his competitor into a hug, eventually jumping on him to celebrate. The Italian Olympian let out a passionate scream, jumping, leaping and rolling around the track. Barshim took a moment to celebrate too, pumping his fist as he walked toward the stands.

The moment, it seems, was a no-brainer for the two athletes.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 9
Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Team Qatar celebrate after agreeing to share gold.Abbie Parr / Getty Images

"I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it,” Barshim said after the event, according to CBC. “We just look at each other and we know, that is it, it is done. There is no need.”

The Olympic gold medalist continued, adding, "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."

The two athletes friendship spans far beyond the touching moment they shared at this Olympic Games. According to USA Today, they have been friends for over ten years after first meeting at the World Junior Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 2010. It was there that Barshim won the title, while Tamberi didn’t qualify for the event. Even still, the two sparked a friendship and began to hang out before, after, and during various international competitions throughout the last decade.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 9
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Team Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy celebrate on the track.Getty Images

Through twin ankle injuries Tamberi and Barshim suffered two years apart in 2016 and 2018, respectively, they become each other’s support system and have continued on their friendship.

Tamberi even attended Barshim’s wedding in Sweden back in November 2018 to his wife, Alexandra Everett Barshim. Tamberi shared a photo on Instagram of the duo alongside the French Olympian Renaud Lavillenie, all donning crisp suits.

Tamberi captioned the photo, "“About being a jumper... About being a gentleman…”