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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Mutaz Barshim bags inspiration award for sharing Olympic gold

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Qatar’s athlete Mutaz Barshim shares yet another title with his Italian counterpart Gianmarco Tamberi.

Just like the unforgettable Tokyo Olympics, Qatar’s high jump champion Mutaz Barshim has now shared the Inspiration Award with Italian Gianmarco Tamberi at the World Athletics Awards 2021.

The well-deserved title was given to both athletes for their selfless and admirable spirit during the Olympics last year—an unforgettable night in the historic event’s history.

Team Qatar athlete Mutaz Barshim jumped a distance of 2.37 meters at the men’s high jump event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, tying with his competitor Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi.

When approached by Olympic officials, a solution was offered. The two could compete in a jump-off to determine the winner. However, without any hesitation, Qatar’s Barshim asked if they could instead have “two golds”.

When the Olympics official confirmed it was possible, both ecstatic athletes leaped in each others arms to celebrate the historic win.

While the world watched this iconic moment in awe, the relationship between the two is actually a lot deeper than that moment. Barshim won Qatar’s second-ever Olympics gold medal alongside one of his closest friends, on and off the track.

The shared high jump victory then became one of the biggest talking points of the Olympic Games, thanks to the admirable act of respect and sportsmanship between the two friends.

“It is just crazy if I think about this story,” said Tamberi.

“Thank you very much for this trophy. I now call Mutaz like five times a week because I need to speak with him. I feel that now we are not just friends, we are really like blood brothers.”

Meanwhile, Barshim said that he hopes “to inspire more people to love our sport and maybe share a gold one day.”

Friends, on and off the track

Tamberi and Barshim share a solid gold friendship. The two have been good friends for some time, with Barshim supporting Tamberi when he suffered a near career-ending injury in 2016.

“With Mutaz especially I built a great relationship. I remember, I went from Ostrava to Paris, and I did badly in Paris, really awful. I couldn’t clear my opening height. I was feeling frustrated, because I didn’t know whether I’d ever get back to the shape I was in in 2016,” wrote Tamberi to Spikes World Athletics in 2018.

‘Essence of sportsmanship’: World reacts to Tamberi-Barshim 2020 Olympics win

After his performance in Paris, Tamberi retreated to his room, disappointed and saddened, not wanting to converse with any of the other athletes.

A day later, he hears a knock on his door. “Gimbo. Gimbo, please I want to talk to you,” said Barshim eagerly at Tamberi’s door. At first, the Italian athlete wanted to be left alone, but Brashim persisted.

“So I gave in and let him in. We talked. I cried in front of him. He tried to calm me down, and told me what he had to say,” wrote Tamberi.

“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,” said Barshim after the two split the win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


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