Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim, Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi decide to share gold in men's high jump

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Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi shared the gold medal in the men's high jump at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. 

All three medalists cleared the 2.37 meter mark in the final. Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus had more failed attempts and therefore won bronze. He set a national record at that height.  

Neither Barshim nor Tamberi had a failed attempt until 2.39 meters, which is the Olympic record. When they couldn't clear the mark, an official came over to talk about going forward with a jump-off to determine gold. One asked if they had to go to a jump-off and the broadcast showed the celebration with later clarification they would tie. 

Tamberi leaped into the arms of a beaming Barshim, who seemed to make the call first to share the medal. 

Barshim, 30, adds gold to his 2012 bronze, which was won behind gold medalist Russian Ivan Ukhov, who was later banned for doping. He earned silver in 2016 and won world titles in 2017 and '19. 

Tamberi was a favorite alongside Barshim heading into the 2016 Rio Games. He set the Italian record at 2.39 meters and trailed only Barshim (2.40m) for the best mark for the year. But he was unable to compete after suffering a serious left ankle injury that required surgery at the 2016 Diamond League in Monaco. 

Gianmarco Tamberi
Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi celebrates the gold medal with teammates and the cast he wore for an ankle injury ahead of the Rio Games. (Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

When the two decided to share the gold medal in Tokyo, the 29-year-old Tamberi grabbed the plastic cast from his ankle injury and ran around the stadium in celebration. It said "Road to Tokyo" with 2020 crossed out in place of "2021." 

Italian teammate Marcell Jacobs won gold in the 100-meter sprint about 10 minutes after Tamberi celebrated in earnest around the track. 

Ties are uncommon given the number of events contested at each Olympics, but happen about every summer cycle on at least one medal stand — yet only rarely in track and field. It's the first co-champions in an athletics competition since American Jim Thorpe and Norway's Ferdinand Bie won in men's pentathlon in 1912. Thorpe won the competition, but was later stripped of it for having played minor league baseball. The IOC later declared him a co-champion in 1982. 

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