American athlete Katie Moon and Australian competitor Nina Kennedy made a remarkable decision at the World Athletics Championships, marking another enchanting moment in sports. They both agreed to share the gold medal in the women’s pole vault, reminiscent of the cooperative spirit seen when Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi shared the high jump gold during the Tokyo Olympics.
During a gripping final that extended for two hours and ten minutes, both Moon and Kennedy successfully cleared a height of 4.90 meters. However, their subsequent attempts at 4.95 meters were unsuccessful, leading them to opt for a shared victory rather than a jump-off.
“It was an unbelievable performance tonight. I can’t put it into words. It felt unreal. I had reached 4.82 meters two or three years ago, so I knew I could go higher. Tonight, I managed to execute those heights,” expressed Kennedy. She continued, “Winning a gold medal is a dream come true. While I believed I could secure a spot on the podium, winning gold felt like a miracle. That’s how I perceive what happened tonight.”
Moon, who clinched her second consecutive world title and had previously won Olympic gold in Tokyo, was considered a favorite with her personal best of 4.95 meters and a season’s best of 4.90 meters. Yet, Kennedy had her own plans. She exceeded her personal best and even broke the Australian record by clearing 4.90 meters, a moment that moved her to tears as she gazed at the steady bar in joyful astonishment.
After the two athletes missed their attempts at 4.95 meters, they engaged in a brief conversation to mutually agree on sharing the gold. Their heartwarming embrace exemplified the essence of sportsmanship. Jessica Ennis-Hill, the 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion from Britain, remarked, “It’s a beautiful sight that truly captures the spirit of our sport. Two outstanding performances, both earning that gold medal.”
Moon confessed that when the competition started, she hadn’t considered sharing the gold as a favorable outcome. However, her perspective shifted: “Now, I’m completely content. What a battle it turned out to be. Once it became evident that only Nina and I remained, the real showdown began. I believe we pushed each other to excel. When she had a strong attempt, I was motivated to replicate it.”
The event didn’t lack drama as Wilma Murto of Finland reached a season’s best of 4.80 meters, securing the bronze medal. Despite three unsuccessful tries at 4.85 meters, Murto’s achievement added to her accolades, having previously become the first Finnish woman to win a Diamond League title by defeating Moon in the London event on July 23.
The competition featured exceptional performances, with two athletes achieving world-leading heights, two national records broken, and three personal bests among the top six jumpers. The audience at the National Athletics Centre was captivated by the rhythmic clapping synchronized with each athlete’s runway approach, creating an electric atmosphere.
Kennedy described the experience, saying, “I felt like the entire stadium was fixated on every single jump. They were with us throughout the night, and it was truly incredible.” The shared victory of Moon and Kennedy will undoubtedly be remembered as a shining example of camaraderie and excellence in the world of athletics.