Qatari and Italian athletes praised for sharing gold medal at Olympics

A Qatari athlete and an Italian one are being praised for agreeing to share a gold medal at the Olympics

On Sunday, Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim, 30, and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, 29, competed in the men’s high jump at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. After both had cleared 2.37 meters (7.78 feet) without having any failed jumps in the competition, each was unable to clear the 2.39-meter (7.84-foot) mark in three attempts. An Olympic official then offered them a “jump-off” to decide the gold medal winner. When Barshim, who won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, asked if they could both win gold, the official agreed, media reported. 

Entities from both countries heaped praise on the two athletes for sharing the gold medal. The Doha Debates program, which is owned by the Qatar Foundation, called the event a “moment of magic” and a “giant leap for sportsmanship” in a Monday Instagram post. The day before, the Italian Embassy in Doha, in a tweet, congratulated Barshim and Tamberi for “the joy of winning together.” 

Not all sports commentators agreed, though. Australian rules football writer Jake Niall said the deal between the athletes was “utterly at odds with the concept of elite sport” in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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