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Lessons from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

This had to be one of the best moments of the Olympics. It happened only yesterday.

I was busy and missed it.

Two high jumpers, one from Qatar and the other from Italy, battling for first place for a gruelling two hours, were able to share the honour of being the best in the world.

They were Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi.

They could have continued. The officials offered them a jump off. BBC Sport stated yesterday “Both had three failures as they attempted to match the Olympic record of 2.39m and, with error-free records on countback, could have fought for sole possession of the title.”

But they chose to share the gold medal and made history instead.

It was the first time since 1912 that an athletics gold medal was shared — in both pentathlon and decathlon at the Stockholm Games.

1912. That’s 109 years ago.

You can just hear the moment they decide to let go of their ambition to be the one and only best on the above BBC Sport YouTube clip.

The official goes up to them to offer a jump off for the gold medal when Barshim asks “Can we have two?”

The steward nods saying “if you can agree to share it.”

And share it they did.

I’m not a fan of competitive sport. Never have been. It’s because there is always someone who misses out. Their dreams of coming first, of winning, shattered by someone better.

Instead of being satisfied with what we’ve achieved, there is the niggling sensation that we didn’t quite measure up on the day.

For the first time in my life time, in a competitive arena like the Olympics, I got to see something different. The world got to see something different.

And it made me think what was truly achievable when we shared our success with another. When we chose not to be the best, but a part of the best. When striving for number one comes second to sharing a moment with a friend.

The story is doing the social media rounds now. By the time this is posted, you, dear reader, may have seen it multiple times from many different angles. If you haven’t, just google “shared gold medal Tokyo Olympics 2020”.

I just wanted to add my two pence worth so that I’ll keep a memory of this moment with me.

Hope you all have a blessed Monday.

Featured image by Karl Magnuson on Unsplash

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August 2021
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