Even as athlete after athlete made and broke records, the Olympic Spirit at Tokyo 2020 is soaring high, when difference like caste, creed, borders, religion and even competitiveness take a back seat to the love for sports and the camaraderie of sportsmanship spirit.
And as has been with every Olympic throughout history, Tokyo 2020 has gifted to the world some more stories on the Olympic Spirit. Wikipedia details ‘Olympic Spirit’ as mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, which “strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges.”
One Olympic Spirit story from Tokyo 2020 that will do the rounds for a long time is about the high jump finals at the games. Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi was facing Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim in the final, both of whom having jumped their highest of 2.37 meters — each. Both of them got three more trials from the Olympic officials, but neither Gianmarco nor Mutaz could jump beyond their highest.
Now, the officials gave both of them one more attempt, each. But the Italian chose to withdraw owing to a serious leg injury. That meant it was Mutaz’s moment to claim the gold. Instead, Mutaz chose to live by the spirit of the games. He asked the official if the gold could be shared between him and Gianmarco if he withdrew from his final attempt.
The official first looked a little stunned. Then he checked and confirmed that as per the new Olympic law, the gold could indeed be shared between the two of them if Mutaz withdrew from his remaining attempt. And that’s what Mutaz decided to do — he announced his withdrawal from his last attempt.
Meantime, his exhausted Italian opponent was lying on the grass feeling disheartened and discouraged, completely unaware of what fate had lined up for him. That’s when Mutaz shared the news of his withdrawal, telling Gianmarco that it meant they’d both share the gold now. It was all it took for Gianmarco to come running and jumping on Mutaz in a very loud and cheerful hug!