"It's history, my friend."
August 3, 2021 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Presenting the top contender for "feel-good moment" from this year's Olympics in Tokyo: in the Men's High Jump event, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi tied for first and faced a tiebreaking jump-off. Instead, Barshim proposed to officials that they simply share the gold.

Barshim and Tamberi have been friends as well as competitors for 11 years, after meeting at the world junior championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 2010. They enjoy biweekly phone chats and frequent visits; Tamberi was even a guest at Barshim's wedding, and Barshim plans to attend Tamberi's upcoming nuptials as well.

Barshim grieved with his friend when Tamberi tore a ligament while training for the 2016 games in Rio, and had to sit on the sidelines cheering Barshim on; then when Barshim suffered a similar injury in 2018, Tamberi was able to offer counsel. Both recovered enough from their injuries to qualify for this year's Olympics; Tamberi saved his cast from 2016 and brought it to Tokyo as a talisman.

The friends sailed through the Mens' High Jump competition in Tokyo, easily taking the lead and clearing a 2.37 meter jump. But when the bar was raised to 2.39 meters, first Barshim failed - and then so did Tamberi. Officials brought them into a huddle, rulebook in hand, to discuss the pair having a jumpoff to determine the winner. But before the officials could explain the rules, Barshim just asked, "Can we have two golds?"

Officials confirmed that yes, they could, if both Barshim and Tamberi agreed to forgo the jumpoff. Barshim just turned to Tamberi with a grin. "It's history, my friend," he said - just before the delighted Tamberi jumped into his arms with a victory whoop.

Barshim was correct that theirs was an historic move - the last time there was a "shared" Olympic gold metal was in 1912. However, the circumstances weren't quite as rosy; Jim Thorpe won the gold in the pentathlon and the decathlon events, but Olympic officials decided later that he had run afoul of Olympics' "amateur athlete" status by accepting pay for a brief stint in baseball. Thorpe was stripped of his medals at the time, with the gold medals being rewarded to the silver medal winners. However, Thorpe was later pardoned by the IOC and his gold medals re-instated.

So this would be the first time that a gold medal was intentionally shared. And in a final and fitting touch to things, during the awards ceremony, Barshim and Tamberi did the honors of presenting each one's gold medal to the other.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (75 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
..this is the Olympics equivalent of when that stray dog befriended that sanctuary elephant.


Cutest thing today.
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:17 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


My youtube-fu is failing me, but there's also a really joyful video of Gianmarco Tamberi barging in on another Italian gold medalist's post-win interview for hugs and kisses.
posted by of strange foe at 8:20 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember there being a tie in a women's swimming event in 1984 that got two golds for the US. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, or that's not a "shared" medal.
posted by LionIndex at 8:21 AM on August 3


I told my wife last night that I kind of wish that they had to share the physical medal too just so that they'd have to figure out an equitable way to do it that would give them a reason to stay in touch with each other.

The reality, that they were already friends who already stay in touch, is much better.
posted by VTX at 8:29 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


There was another nice story in the Women's BMX track racing, Bethany Schriever was not the favourite going in but won all three of her semi-finals then got out front in the final and held off the actual favourite, Mariana Pajón. She put so much into it she couldn't stand up when she got off the bike. Teammate and men's silver medallist, Kye White, ended up picking her up.

On a less joyous note, funding to the GB women's BMX team (but not the men's) was cut after the Rio Olympics so Schriever has had to get by on what she could put together to get to Tokyo.
posted by biffa at 8:31 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


[alternate link for Europe]
posted by Lanark at 8:35 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


share the physical medal too just so that they'd have to figure out an equitable way to do it that

That has been done.
posted by explosion at 8:36 AM on August 3 [16 favorites]


I've watched this like 25 times since it happened. It's the first thing that's made me feel better about this Olympics.
posted by JanetLand at 8:56 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I did the stupidest thing, which is get into an argument in the Youtube comments section with someone who was bloviating about how this is a violation of the spirit of sport and how shared first place "isn't physically possible". There was one good outcome from the discussion, though, which is that I discovered the Wikipedia page for List of ties for medals at the Olympics.
posted by clawsoon at 8:59 AM on August 3 [13 favorites]


This is pretty adorable and I admit I got teary.
posted by PussKillian at 9:16 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


[alternate link for Europe ]
Not everywhere in Europe, it seems. Thanks, BBC.

This one works for me.
Decision footage starts around 2:45.

A nice palate cleanser after some of the ugly responses to the womens' gymnastics.
posted by myotahapea at 9:26 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


Canada's Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel of the USA both won gold in the 2016 100 metre freestyle after the race was ruled a dead heat. The article linked below mentions several other such outcomes in swimming over the years, including the one noted by LionIndex above.

Link
posted by HillbillyInBC at 9:48 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


I seem to remember there being a tie in a women's swimming event in 1984 that got two golds for the US. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, or that's not a "shared" medal. -
posted by LionIndex

Swimming. Americans Nancy Hogshead, 22, & Carrie Steinseifer, 16, competed in the first event of the 1984 Summer Olympics, the women's 100m freestyle; both won gold in a tie-finish [55.92 seconds]. Washington Post: "U.S. Wins 2 Golds in One Event" (July 30, 1984) Neither won and yet both did. Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer, the two women representing the United States in the 100-meter freestyle, came home together tonight. Stroke for stroke, they headed for the wall. Both reached. Both touched. Both were timed in 55.92 seconds and both won Olympic gold medals. It was the first time in the history of the Games that two gold medals were awarded in one event.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:50 AM on August 3


The caveat on the 'first shared medal since 1912' thing is *in Athletics* (track and field) which is in the original article. There are lots of shared gold in other events and lots of shared medals in Athletics, but no shared gold in Athletics since 1912.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:58 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


I'm not a sports purist or anything, but they should've gotten a silver medal each so that their choice to share position would be meaningful. But if the alternative is gold for everybody, whoever chose to keep competing would be seen as both irrational and evil.
posted by valdesm at 10:03 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Apropos of nothing: the term "Athletics" for track and field is kind of awesome.
posted by Melismata at 10:16 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


they should've gotten a silver medal each

If they have the same ability, and they're better than everyone else, they've earned a gold medal. Giving them silver would be petty.
posted by tigrrrlily at 10:40 AM on August 3 [35 favorites]


You may not consider yourself a sports purist, but insisting that the athletes must be punished for being gracious and mutually respectful is certainly... something.
posted by tavella at 10:43 AM on August 3 [35 favorites]


"I'm not a sports purist or anything, but they should've gotten a silver medal each so that their choice to share position would be meaningful."

How would silver make this any more meaningful than gold?
posted by jonathanhughes at 10:48 AM on August 3


How do you give somebody a silver when nobody beat them?
posted by sinfony at 10:48 AM on August 3 [15 favorites]


I'm not a sports purist or anything, but they should've gotten a silver medal each so that their choice to share position would be meaningful. But if the alternative is gold for everybody, whoever chose to keep competing would be seen as both irrational and evil.

I kind of agree. The feel-good nature here seems sort of predicated on some idea that competition, picking winners, etc., is somehow distasteful. But... it's the Olympics! The event where, perhaps moreso than any other, we celebrate competition and the highest levels of sporting achievement, even though that means assigning winners and runners-up.

I can understand shared medals for events which don't have a clear way to perform a tie break. But high jump does have a clear procedure. I mean, If the final football match ends in a tie, there's a shoot-out. If the teams were to ask to just call the game and share a medal at that point, I kind of would hope that the refs would just look puzzled for a moment and say, "uh, no, we do the shoot-out now."

The reactions from the athletes are touching, and it's awesome that they are such great friends even as fierce competitors.

You may not consider yourself a sports purist, but insisting that the athletes must be punished for being gracious and mutually respectful is certainly... something.

*shrug* Disagree with the implication here that giving the choice between observing the normal tiebreak rules and sharing an award, but with a minor consolation, is "punishment".
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 10:52 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


Their option is in fact an option of the tiebreak rules and thus they were observing them, and is in line with what happens in other events in the Olympics -- when the above mentioned swimmers tied, no one forced them to have a swim-off so that there would be only a single gold medalist. So yes, stripping them of their earned gold medals would be a punishment.
posted by tavella at 10:57 AM on August 3 [23 favorites]


26.8.4 If it concerns the first place, a jump-off between these athletes shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 26.9 of the Technical Rules, unless otherwise decided, either in advance according to the regulations applying to the competition, or during the competition but before the start of the event by the Technical Delegate(s) or the Referee if no Technical Delegate has been appointed. If no jump-off is carried out, including where the relevant athletes at any stage decide not to jump further, the tie for first place shall remain.
- World Athletics Technical Rules, book C2.1 - Vertical Jumps: Placings (emphasis added)
posted by Superilla at 11:14 AM on August 3 [22 favorites]


Ah, nice! Looks like the version of the rules I was looking at was not the right version; I stand corrected.
posted by Expecto Cilantro at 11:19 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


But... it's the Olympics!

I feel strongly the other way. It's the Olympics, so like Ivan Drago said -- if they tie, they tie.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:22 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


What a beautiful moment. The Olympics can indeed bring out the best in what humanity can be.
posted by Gelatin at 11:22 AM on August 3


Ahhhh I love this, great post! I've watched the video clip of them celebrating probably a dozen times.

They've both been sharing memes about their friendship and co-gold on their instagram stories, it's hilarious and adorable. Barshim also posted a little clip of him asking siri on his phone who was the high jump champion and she responded "you are, but so is your friend Gianmarco" (paraphrasing, the clip has disappeared). Just absolutely precious.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:27 AM on August 3 [14 favorites]


When the competition is "Who Can Jump the Highest," then the competitors all jump and two go, "We both jumped equally high :)" I for one see no need to say, "No!!! Keep jumping!!!" They both jumped equally high! They earned the same prize!
posted by rabbitbookworm at 11:31 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


> Canada's Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel of the USA both won gold in the 2016 100 metre freestyle after the race was ruled a dead heat.

It's interesting to me as someone who looks at measurement statistics for a living how this is fundamentally a metrology problem: swimming pools and the touch pads used aren't accurate enough to resolve differences of swimming speeds at sub-hundredths of seconds levels.

Why so many Olympic swimming ties?

Barring some major changes to the way things are done, perhaps even changing the way swimmers race, this looks like a set limitations that might last for a long time. No one can realistically make swimming pools or touchpads more accurate in dimensions and placement. It's not even really a technical problem in terms of the sensors, more one in terms of what can be managed during the event.

Track and field seems to have similar limitations. 1/100th of a second (10ms) appears to be the limit for now of how small a difference we can meaningfully measure for human athletic performance.
posted by bonehead at 11:34 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


...decide not to jump further

It's my understanding that the goal of this event is to jump higher. j/k
posted by VTX at 11:35 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


I loved this moment. NBC has the Italian Broadcast version of it and it's great. Mamma mia!
posted by HumanComplex at 11:53 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Then there's the 1900 men's coxed fours .....
posted by mbo at 11:56 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, that was wonderful! Mamma mia! Oro-oro!
posted by HotToddy at 12:06 PM on August 3


I love that they didn't even have to discuss it. The official acknowledged that it's allowed, and they just went straight to celebrating because they both knew that's exactly what they wanted.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 12:20 PM on August 3 [15 favorites]


more of this, please
posted by scruss at 12:22 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


It’s entirely possible they discussed it prior to talking to the judge. When they got the answer, that’s why they reacted without further discussion.
posted by explosion at 12:46 PM on August 3


I am loving this story, but it was pointed out that the bronze winner, Belarus' Maksim Nedasekau, cleared 2.37 with the two gold winners and like the two gold winners failed at all three attempts at 2.39.

So why did those two count as tied and his failed attempts leave him in third place?
posted by thecjm at 12:49 PM on August 3


Everyone might understand this already - but, in case it’s not clear: they didn’t just jump the same highest height of the competition, they also both failed subsequent attempts to jump higher. And neither had any misses (or whatever the appropriate term is) as they worked toward their highest jump. If that’s not a definition of a tie for first place I’m not sure what is.
posted by double bubble at 12:52 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


It’s entirely possible they discussed it prior to talking to the judge. When they got the answer, that’s why they reacted without further discussion.

If you watch the video, though, there's no time for them to have discussed it. Barshim fails his 2.39 meter jump, and then walks back to the sidelines as Tamberi takes his position. If he'd made the jump he'd have won - but he failed too. He walks back to the sidelines where Barshim is waiting with an official standing next to him. They hug it out for a second, and the official launches right away into "so we need to talk about a jumpoff", and after not even 3 seconds, Barshim interrupts the official to say "can we have two golds?" The official hesitates for like a second and says, "....it's possible, if you both agree." They look at each other, Barshim says "it's history, my friend," they shake on it and then Tamberi jumps into his arms and hollers.

The only time they could have discussed it is like the night before, and that'd be an awfully weird thing for them to have discussed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


I believe the bronze medalist had a “miss” in a jump
leading up to the highest jump.
posted by double bubble at 12:53 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


In other words, if the entire competition had been broadcast, I think the outcome would make more sense to us casual viewers. (This rant is aimed at the rest of the internet who has expended so much outrage on the topic - not this place where people are mostly rational).
posted by double bubble at 12:59 PM on August 3


So Japanese. This is a country where the most agreeable outcome of a baseball game is a tied score at the end of the ninth inning. No extra innings in Japanese baseball, and a tie means nobody lost.
posted by Rash at 1:00 PM on August 3


They look at each other, Barshim says "it's history, my friend," they shake on it and then Tamberi jumps into his arms and hollers.

Far from discussing it in advance, the official doesn't even finish speaking before Barshim and Tamberi look at each other and nod.
posted by Gelatin at 1:02 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


They also appear to start celebrating before the official has confirmed this option is doable - but given these are elite high jumpers who understand the rules of the sport, I give them the benefit of the doubt. They are also good friends who have competed against each other for years and that seems to show through in their easy resolution to the question.
posted by double bubble at 1:07 PM on August 3


Considering that the purpose of the Olympics is to entertain the Gods of Olympus by performing for them the most excellent feats of human physicality, TWO best high-jumpers seems even better than one, and having the winners joyfully share their joint win is absolutely the best and should make the Gods exceptionally satisfied.

[just nobody mention the golden apple please]
posted by heatherlogan at 1:25 PM on August 3 [12 favorites]


This was good. Complexify it however you feel like you need to - at the end of the story the two best high jumpers won. And they're friends. Who fight crime. (too much?)
posted by From Bklyn at 1:26 PM on August 3 [12 favorites]


No extra innings in Japanese baseball, and a tie means nobody lost.

I like the main story of the original post, but I haaaaaaate that.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 1:27 PM on August 3


Who fight crime. (too much?)

Not too much. I'd watch that show. The plotlines would be fascinating, coming up with crimes to fight in which their particular set of skills (jumping high) could be used.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:30 PM on August 3 [5 favorites]


This was briefly referenced upthread but less than 15 minutes after Tamberi tied for gold, his roommate, Italian sprinter Lamont Jacobs won a surprise gold (SLNYT) in men’s 100m.

The night before, they had dreamed together about winning gold while playing video games and agreed that, while extremely cool to think about, was not going to happen.

Nice stories all around for Italy’s track and field athletes.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:31 PM on August 3 [11 favorites]


And just to tie those two stories together, after Jacobs wins the 100 and is slowing down around the curve, Tamberi is STILL lying on the track wrapped in the Italian flag, and he jumps up (he's good at that) and celebrates with him. MAMA MIA!
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:35 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


valdesm: "whoever chose to keep competing would be seen as both irrational and evil."

Ding ding ding!
posted by signal at 1:42 PM on August 3


Per Big Al 8000's NYT link, "Italians Stun Even Themselves in 100 Meters and High Jump": Lamont Marcell Jacobs was the first Italian to even make a men’s 100-meter final, let alone to win one [...] El Paso-born Jacobs [became] the first person other than Usain Bolt to win the event in the Olympics since 2004, erasing his anonymity in exactly 9.80 seconds, a personal best and a European record.

In a field full of underdogs, Jacobs was almost an afterthought. Until 2018, he specialized in the long jump. (His Instagram handle is still @crazylongjumper.) He had never run faster than 10.03 seconds in the 100 meters until this year, and he was unfamiliar to more than a few of the other finalists in Tokyo.

Wow, no wonder the feat "sent the few dozen Italian partisans who were scattered across a largely empty stadium into a state of near delirium"!

Diver Tom Daley knit a cozie for his recent gold medal win, and now I feel like everyone should have one.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:47 PM on August 3 [10 favorites]


As steeped as I am in Medieval and Early Modern literature, in which heroic friendship between men* is seen as the highest form of relationship, this seems like the end of a play. Except in a play the setting might be a battlefield or a duelling ground rather than a stadium.

These are human beings, of course, not fictional characters; and it's dangerous to project fictional tropes onto real people. But I think we still have a strong response to that idea of heroic friendship; we long for it to be real, so we respond when we see things that seem to represent it.

*The past may contain some misogyny
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:56 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


valdesm: I'm not a sports purist or anything, but they should've gotten a silver medal each so that their choice to share position would be meaningful. But if the alternative is gold for everybody, whoever chose to keep competing would be seen as both irrational and evil.

Part of the reason that people are drawn to sports is that they provide a rich array of emotions. The meat-and-potatoes of sports is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, of course. Those are two important emotional poles, and there's a temptation to define sports solely in terms of them. There must be a winner and a loser; if we lose that, we have lost the essence of sport, and we are on a slippery slope to the collapse of all sporting values. (That was certainly the position of the Youtube commenter I was arguing with yesterday.)

However... people are drawn to sports for more emotions than just those two. The opportunity to tear up at displays of nobility like this one are part of the attraction. So is the angry thrill of responding to sports villainy. Sports can have all of those things without seeing winning and losing as "evil". You don't need to slide all the way down the slippery slope.

And sometimes there are quieter emotions, like the routine way that pole vaulters share poles if someone breaks all of theirs. Especially in more niche disciplines, these athletes are as much co-workers as competitors. They see each other at every event, competing, yes, but also sharing a love for an obscure activity that few people care about and no-one does at their level except the dozen or so competitors they see every couple of weeks at events around the world.

It is sporting to race across the finish line, and it is sporting to help someone across the finish line.
posted by clawsoon at 2:29 PM on August 3 [19 favorites]


My favourite recent sports story is the cyclist Anna Kiesenhofer.

From what I understand, the normal way these events go is that there is a small group of cyclists that are considered “the best”, and that they normally pace themselves and break out towards the end to decide the ranking. Other cyclists, who are not expected to win, often start out fast and then drop back. I suppose it's because they're objectively very good and this way at least they can experience the thrill of being in front? Kiesenhofer is obviously very good, but she wasn't considered to be that good, and didn't even have a trainer.

Anyway, that's what happened this time, except Kiesenhofer didn't drop back. And the top-ranked cyclists forgot that she was there, so they didn't do the usual thing where they pound past the lesser mortals. So Kiesenhofer was at the front the whole way, and won the event by a ridiculous 75 seconds. The next competitor actually didn't realise even after crossing the finish line, and was surprised to learn that she had come second!

I'm not altogether happy about the fact that Anna is a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. I feel that people should pick brains or brawn and it's unfair to have both. But, her victory is hilarious and even I, a person largely composed of bile and petty resentment, find it impossible to begrudge her the victory.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:47 PM on August 3 [23 favorites]


Joe in Australia: Other cyclists, who are not expected to win, often start out fast and then drop back. I suppose it's because they're objectively very good and this way at least they can experience the thrill of being in front?

Perhaps they're part of the faster rider's peloton, helping their faster teammate out by cutting wind resistance for them through the first part of the race?
posted by clawsoon at 2:58 PM on August 3


...something similar happens occasionally with pacemakers in distance races.
posted by clawsoon at 3:00 PM on August 3


So is the angry thrill of responding to sports villainy

I can't tell you how shocked I was not to see Michael Schumacher's car just parked in the middle of Rascasse.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:04 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


I'm not altogether happy about the fact that Anna is a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. I feel that people should pick brains or brawn and it's unfair to have both.

See also Debi Thomas, olympic medalist in figure skating and orthopedic surgeon. Astronaut stuff mixed up in there too.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:09 PM on August 3 [5 favorites]


wow, I've been incredible jaded toward the olympics due to living in Japan, so I gotta say I was kind of caught off-guard by a genuine feel-good story like this

this is very sweet
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:40 PM on August 3


The plotlines would be fascinating, coming up with crimes to fight in which their particular set of skills (jumping high) could be used.

Counterpoint: Gymkata.
posted by user92371 at 2:22 AM on August 4


The plotlines would be fascinating, coming up with crimes to fight in which their particular set of skills (jumping high) could be used.

I'm pretty sure I read a Hardy Boys adventure as a kid in which pole vaulting played a feature role.
posted by clawsoon at 4:32 AM on August 4


Ah, yes, here it is:

About a half mile from the top in an open section, the boys came to a barbed-wire fence. It was about eight feet high and the upper strands were tilted outward, making it almost impossible to scale.

"Look!" whispered Joe from the shelter of the trees. "That fence is electrified!"

"It probably has a charge heavy enough to knock a fellow out," Frank remarked. "I'll bet it sets off an alarm, too."

"What a way to be stymied," said Joe.

Frank looked through the fence, his eyes probing the trees beyond. No one was in sight.

"What do you say we pole-vault over, Joe? Eight feet isn't too high."

"We'll do it," Joe said with determination. "About a hundred yards back I saw some saplings that had blown down. We can use them."

posted by clawsoon at 4:45 AM on August 4 [8 favorites]


Mod note: One comment deleted; there was a recent discussion in Metatalk about avoiding the casual use of the term "moron" and this is a nudge in the support of that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:17 AM on August 4 [4 favorites]


See also Debi Thomas, olympic medalist in figure skating and orthopedic surgeon. Astronaut stuff mixed up in there too.

Er, please google what Debi Thomas is doing now.
posted by Melismata at 7:00 AM on August 4


Is it just me or are the Olympics better this time?

I have had no interest in the past due to the extreme commercialism and what a shit show the games always are for the host city. And I know this round has had its share of fucked up incidents, but overall I have really been into it! Maybe it's the empty stands changing the tone somehow? Maybe it's me wanting to see human achievement and connection? But I've been soaking up these crazy super-humans. And there's something I find really touching about seeing competitors touch each other, give pats on the back, and just stand next to each other between bouts of their various sports.
posted by latkes at 7:11 AM on August 4




Er, please google what Debi Thomas is doing now

Oh my. That's deeply unfortunate.

(she has bipolar disorder that maybe isn't responding terribly well and her life has in many ways collapsed)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:45 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Another Olympian with academic cred - runner Gabby Thomas, Harvard grad and currently studying epidemiology at University of Texas.
posted by double bubble at 7:50 AM on August 4


Now, where was I? As I said in my deleted comment a jump-off would have continued until someone made a mistake and where is the sport in that? Any sporting competition decides who is best at that instant and these two decided that on this occasion they were equal and so called it a draw. I refer you to LobsterMitten's comment for my opinion on armchair athletes who opine that a draw like this is somehow unsporting.
posted by epo at 8:49 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


>The only time they could have discussed it is like the night before, and that'd be an awfully weird thing for them to have discussed.

Or weeks/months before, when those two good friends were training for the same sport. Not so weird to ask even that far back if there's any way they could both get gold.

Anyway that's what Barshim says, that they'd talked about it a little and said "Imagine".
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 9:12 AM on August 4


And there's something I find really touching about seeing competitors touch each other, give pats on the back, and just stand next to each other between bouts of their various sports.

As a gymnastics fan, it has warmed my heart to see the mutual admiration among athletes from different countries, even ones that have traditionally been pitted against each other, as described in this Dvora Meyers article: Why It’s Not Surprising That Simone Biles Cheered For Angelina Melnikova.

Not mentioned in the article (because it happened after the article was written), but also heartwarming: Sunisa Lee's wholesome admiration and cheering for Guan Chenchen, the balance beam gold medalist, during the balance beam event finals.
posted by creepygirl at 1:08 PM on August 4 [3 favorites]


Anyway that's what Barshim says, that they'd talked about it a little and said "Imagine".

Maybe, but there's a difference between what sounds like "boy, wouldn't it be cool if there were some way that we could both get a gold?" and a planned-out "okay, IF by some chance we end up tying let's agree to call it a draw".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:42 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


The more realistic scenario is two guys having a round of “what if” in the same way my friend and I discuss winning the lottery.
posted by double bubble at 2:17 PM on August 4


Sporting competition is, after all, something of an artificial overlay over people doing difficult things well. You can see that more clearly in sports that are either new or new to Europeans, like surfing and skateboarding.

"Wow, that's amazing, how did you do that??" "Here, let me show you..." is just as natural, or more natural, than, "Let us have a formal competition to see which person can do this amazing thing best."
posted by clawsoon at 2:24 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


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