5 heartwarming stories so far from the Olympic track and field competition

Incredible feats and sportsmanship: The Olympic spirit was on full display in these instances

Gold medalist Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and silver medalist Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men's high jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP)
Gold medalist Mutaz Barshim, left, of Qatar and silver medalist Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate on the track after the final of the men's high jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Christian Petersen/Pool Photo via AP) (2021 Getty Images)

The track and field competition at the Olympics still has a long way to go, given the final scheduled event, the marathon, will take place Sunday.

But already, the competition has produced inspiring moments that have gotten the world’s attention and embodied the Olympic spirit.

Here are five of those moments thus far, with more likely to come.


5. An Italian sprinter credits reconnecting with his estranged father before winning historic gold.

Lamont Marcell Jacobs, of Italy, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the final of the men's 100-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Lamont Marcell Jacobs Jr. made history over the weekend when he became the first man from Italy to win the 100-meter dash at the Olympics and be crowned “the world’s fastest man.”

Jacobs, born in El Paso, Texas before moving to Italy when he was 1 month old, is the son of an American father and Italian mother.

His parents met when his father, Lamont Marcell Jacobs Sr., was stationed with the U.S. Army in Italy.

The two then married and moved to Texas, but then the elder Jacobs lost contact with the family after being assigned by the Army to a station in South Korea.

That’s when the younger Jacobs moved to Italy with his mother and how he grew up Italian.

Before the Olympics, the father and son started communicating again, which the younger Jacobs said gave him energy and a good mentality going into the race, according to The Guardian.

The elder Jacobs texted his son encouraging words before the race, according to the website Heavy.

“It’s not all resolved yet, but at least we’re communicating with dad now,” the younger Jacobs told Italy 24 News.

If they meet up soon, the younger Jacobs will have a nice shiny gold medal to show off.


4. This American athlete does something that hasn’t happened since 1912.

JuVaughn Harrison, of the United States, competes in the preliminary round of the men's high jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

History buffs will know the importance of Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes of all time, who won two Olympic gold medals and played professional football, baseball and basketball.

JuVaughn Harrison likely won’t be appearing in the MLB, NFL or NBA, but he did something at this Olympics that no other American man has done since Thorpe in 1912.

Harrison became the first American since Thorpe to compete in the high jump and long jump at the same Olympics.

The 22-year-old Harrison finished seventh in the high jump and fifth in the long jump, and given his age, he should be in store for even better things in Paris come 2024.


3. History is made for Puerto Rico.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, of Puerto Rico, celebrates after winning the gold in the women's 100-meters hurdles final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Pool Photo via AP)

Before last week, the only medal Puerto Rico had ever won at the Summer Olympics came at the 2016 Rio Games when Monica Puig won the gold medal in tennis. There had been nothing to speak of in track and field until this year’s finals of the 100-meter hurdles.

An underdog going in, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn ended up winning the race fairly easily in a time of 12.37 seconds, becoming the first Puerto Rican to not only win a medal in track and field, but a gold medal at that.

Quinn-Camacho grew up in South Carolina and trains in Florida, but runs for Puerto Rico to honor the roots on her mother’s side of the family.


2. This incredible sportsmanship display after a disheartening fall.

Isaiah Jewett, left, and Nijel Amos of Botswana help each other up after falling in a men's 800m heat.

Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos were running third and fourth respectively in a semifinal heat of the 800 meters as they were approaching the final turn before the last 100 meters of the race.

That’s when Jewett, from the United States, and Amos, from Botswana, got their feet tangled up.

Both men then went down as all the other racers sped past them and finished the event.

The two then looked at each other before something remarkable happened.

Instead of angry words or physical violence, the two slapped hands, helped each other up, gave each other a hug and walked together toward the finish line.

All together now: I’m not crying. You’re crying!


1.) A mutually agreed-upon gold medal.

Gianmarco Tamberi, of Italy celebrates with Mutaz Barshim of Qatar after they won joint gold in the final of the men's high jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

When the high jump competition ended in a tie for the gold medal between Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, the two men were approached by an Olympic official.

Tamberi and Barshim were told they could go into a jump-off to determine the winner, but right away, they had a better idea.

“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked the official.

“It’s possible, if you decide,” the official said.

The two men looked at each other, nodded, and then Tamberi jumped into Barshim’s arms for an enthusiastic embrace after they mutually decided to keep the tie in place and share the gold medal.

Well, technically, each got a gold medal and got to hear his anthem played.

But much like Jewett and Amos, they most importantly warmed the hearts of the world with their sportsmanship.

What’s been your favorite moment of the track and field competition so far? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.