Pole Vaulters Decide To Share Gold Medal: Heart-Warming Or Kind Of Lame?

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A pair of pole vaulters agreed to split the gold medal at the World Athletics Championships.

This now begs an important question: Is this kind of situation a heart-warming act of sportsmanship or kind of lame and an affront to the very ethos of athletic competitions?

It happened at the World Athletic Championship in Budapest, where pole vaulters Katie Moon of the US and Australian Nina Kennedy battled it out in the final. Both made it over the bar at 4.90 meters.

However, they struggled to get over the bar at 4.95 meters

So, after several attempts to one-up each other, the two agreed on something that had never happened in the history of the World Athletic Championship:

They decided to share the gold medal.

They opted for this outcome instead of a jump-off, which meant that Moon and Kennedy were both named gold medal winners while nobody got a silver medal.

I can certainly see how some people would see this as a heart-warming gesture of sportsmanship… but, the sports fan inside me hates ties.

Hates them.

Especially the idea that they could happen in a championship-deciding moment.

USA’s Katie Moon and Australia’s Nina Kennedy stand together on the top step of the podium at the World Athletics Championship. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP) (Photo by ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP via Getty Images)

While Nice, This Isn’t Why People Watch Sports

I’m not going to pretend that I watch a lot of pole vaulting. I only watch it for a couple of minutes every four years when the Olympics roll around. However, I assume some pole vaulting hardos were rubbing their chalky hands together over the prospect of a jump-off for gold medal glory.

Nope. They decided they were both winners.

Can you imagine if the Super Bowl went to overtime, and both teams came out for the coin toss and were like, “Don’t bother flipping, stripes, we’ve decided we’re all winners here,” then walked off the field while everyone stood around confused as to what color confetti to shoot?

That’s kind of what happened in this case. And while that extreme level of sportsmanship is cool in a way, we all want to see winners.

Both clearly deserved to win gold medals, but that doesn’t mean they should both win gold medals. Let’s see some drama, some heartbreak, and some triumph.

Ya know, the reasons we watch sports.

Hopefully, this doesn’t become a trend. While it makes for a “nice” story one time, it’ll make watching competitions pointless if athletes can decide, “Meh, let’s stop. We both win.”

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.


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