For the first time in the competition’s history, two athletes share a gold medal at the World Championships in Athletics.
American Katie Moon and Australian Nina Kennedy found themselves in a predicament during the women’s pole vault final. They both ran 4.90 meters, but neither failed to clear 4.95 meters on any of their three attempts.
Kennedy says she looked at Moon and said, “Hey girl, maybe you want to share this?”
“And the relief on her face – and you could see it on my face – and it was mutual. And yes, absolutely incredible to share a medal with Katie Moon. You know, we’ve been friends for so long, so it’s super special,” Kennedy told reporters after the final, according to Reuters.
Thousands of fans lined up at the National Athletics Center in Budapest, Hungary, for Day 5 of the competition, which will see nearly 2,000 athletes from 192 countries in attendance.
“I felt like the whole stadium was watching every jump,” Kennedy said.
The dramatic event lasted two hours and ten minutes. Katie Moon told FloTrack that as the final progressed it became clear there was little difference between the two athletes.
“As the game went on I knew we were tied, and I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want this to go to a jump-off.’”
Moon told sportswriter Anderson Emerole that she and Kennedy felt the same way a post on social media by the athletics news site DyeStat.
“This match was possibly the toughest battle I’ve ever had,” said Moon. “It was very draining emotionally, and I think that’s why we both felt like, ‘We’re not really feeling the jump out right now.’”
It was Moon’s second consecutive World Championship gold medal. She also won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2020. With a personal best of 4.95 meters, Moon turned out to be the favorite.
However, Kennedy did not back down. She not only set a new personal best, but also broke the Australian record by eight centimeters when she sailed over the 4.90 meter high bar. She held back tears after the career-defining jump.
“I knew I could get on the podium, but it was a miracle to get the gold. So I think a miracle happened tonight,” Kennedy told reporters, according to Reuters.
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