BUDAPEST (Reuters) – American Katie Moon and Australian Nina Kennedy decided to share the women’s pole vault gold medal in another magical moment at the World Championships on Wednesday.
Their decision echoed what happened between the Qatari Mutaz Barshim and the Italian Gianmarco Tammperi, who shared the high jump gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
The two women cleared 4.90m in a thrilling two-hour, 10-minute final, but both missed all three attempts by 4.95m and decided to split the win rather than go for the vault.
“I just jumped out of my skin tonight,” Kennedy said. “It was absolutely crazy.” “I can’t explain it. It was surreal. I jumped 4.82 two or three years ago, so I knew I had some higher highs and tonight I put it all together.
“Winning a gold medal is just a dream come true – I knew I could get on the podium, but getting the gold medal was a miracle. So I think the miracle happened tonight.”
This is the second consecutive world title for Moon, who also won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. Armed with a personal best of 4.95 and a season’s best of 4.90, the 32-year-old Moon looks like the favourite.
But Kennedy had other ideas. She beat the Australian record and her personal best by eight centimeters when she sailed over 4.90, then held back tears as she looked up at the stationary bar in gleeful disbelief.
Moon and Kennedy spoke briefly after their three failures to determine the outcome, then embraced.
Jessica Innes-Hill, the 2012 British Olympic heptathlon champion, told the BBC: “I am a very nice person, she is very beautiful, she really shows what our sport is all about.” “They put in two epic performances and both took gold.”
Moon said when the night began that she would not have considered sharing the gold a great result.
“But now I’m completely satisfied. What a fight,” said the American. “When it became clear that only Nina and I were still jumping, the show was just beginning. I think we motivated each other. And when she made a good attempt, I also wanted to do it.
“It was tiring but well worth the effort. What an amazing night. Hope everyone enjoyed it. We did.”
Finland’s Wilma Murto tied her season’s best of 4.80 for the bronze, losing all three of her attempts at 4.85. The 25-year-old became the first Finnish woman to win a Diamond League title when she beat Moon at the London event on July 23.
Featuring two world-leading heights, two national records, three personal bests among the top six jumpers, the event commanded the attention of the NAAC crowd – propelled by the rhythmic, ominous thud of the sound system as each jumper climbed to the highest level. Runway – Clap at the right time.
“It felt like the whole stadium was watching every jump,” said Kennedy. “They were all around us tonight, it was really unbelievable.”
Reporting by Laurie Ewing; Editing by Toby Davis
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