Yesterday was a superb day of track and field drama at the Tokyo Olympics.
The day ended with the 100-metre men’s final, where the relatively unheralded Italian Marcell Jacobs took gold.
Sadly for South Africa, Akini Simbine finished fourth, just 0,04 seconds shy of claiming a medal.
Today we cheer for Wayde van Niekerk in the men’s 400-metre semi-final (1:21PM SA time), and Wenda Nel in the women’s 400-metre semi-final (1:45PM SA time).
But let’s focus on the men’s high jump final yesterday, which ended with two men – Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi – taking gold medals.
Both men cleared 2,37 metres, but failed in their three attempts to clear 2,39 metres. Both men also had error-free countbacks, having cleared all prior heights at the first attempt, which would otherwise have been used to separate them.
The athletes were offered an opportunity to take part in a jump-off, but in a moment that embodies the Olympic spirit (they’ve been friends for many years away from the track), agreed to share the title.
It is the first joint Olympic podium in athletics since 1912.
Here’s the moment the agreement is made:
The true essence of sportsmanship.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) August 1, 2021
In this longer clip, you can see Tamberi’s incredible reaction:
— Shayne Currie (@ShayneCurrieNZH) August 1, 2021
Fair play to him.
Italian sports fans definitely having a solid few months, with the Euro 2020 win, the 100-metre Olympic gold, and a beautiful high jump moment to celebrate.
Barshim said that “for the performance I did, I deserve that gold. He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold.”
Both had also overcome injuries in the lead-up to the Games. Here’s The Guardian:
Tamberi suffered a broken ankle that forced him out of the Rio Games. When it came off, the 29-year-old wrote on it “Road to Tokyo 2020”. Then, he crossed out 2020 after the pandemic led to a postponement and wrote in red, “2021”. That cast lay on the track as he jumped for gold on Sunday.
“I said to myself that day, ‘I want to be back in Tokyo and I want to fight for the gold medal,’” Tamberi said.
Barshim also battled injury in the years leading up to the Tokyo Games.
Barshim added that Tamberi was “one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track.”
The Italian high jumper is also good pals with Jacobs, who took the 100-metre gold, with the duo having joked about the prospect of double Sunday glory.
Again, from The Guardian:
Italy’s two shock 100m and high jump Olympic champions joked about both winning gold medals over a late-night PlayStation session hours before their victories, but decided the idea was “too crazy”…
Tamberi said: “We played PlayStation – Formula One and NBA. In NBA I destroyed him! But he is a good friend and we just relaxed. When you are preparing for a big event, it can’t just be Netflix to relax.”
When Jacobs crossed the line, his countryman was there to celebrate with him:
— Kate Carter (@katehelencarter) August 1, 2021
As Jacobs was giving a post-race interview, Tamberi again entered the fray:
— Mila Spicola 🇪🇺🇮🇹🇨🇺 (@MilaSpicola) August 1, 2021
That’s what the Olympic Games are all about.
To finish, here’s the welcome that greeted our own gold medal hero, Tatjana Schoenmaker, when she returned to the Olympic Village on Friday night:
— Maphuti Hlako🇿🇦 (@maphuti_africa) July 30, 2021
[imagesource:here] New World Wealth has published its latest report, revealing the weal...
With all the focus on Solana and Cardano, it’s funny how no one is speaking about the fo...
[imagesource: Searchlight Pictures] Fridays are for finishing work early. My condole...
[imagesource: Twitter / The LeftBacks] If you grew up spending a decent amount of time ...
[imagesource: YouTube / Ady Short] In South Africa, and especially in Cape Town, motori...