For the first time in the competition’s history, two athletes are sharing a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships. 

The USA’s Katie Moon and Australia’s Nina Kennedy found themselves in a predicament during the women’s pole vault final. They both cleared 4.90 meters, but neither managed 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 yeah, 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. 

USA’s Katie Moon hugs Australia’s Nina Kennedy after agreeing to share the gold medal.

Steph Chambers / Getty Images

Thousands of fans were on their feet at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary, for Day 5 of the competition, which hosts almost 2,000 athletes from 192 countries. 

“I felt like the whole stadium was watching every single jump,” Kennedy said. 

The dramatic event lasted two hours and 10 minutes. Katie Moon told FloTrack that as the final progressed, it became clear that very little separated the two athletes.  

“As the competition was going, I knew we were tied, and I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want this to go to a jump-off.'” 

Moon told sports journalist Anderson Emerole that she and Kennedy felt the same way, according to a social media post by the track and field news site DyeStat.

“This competition was arguably the toughest battle I’d say that I’ve had,” Moon said. “It was very emotionally draining, and I think that’s why both of us were feeling like, ‘We’re not really feeling the jump off right now.'” 

The competitors discussed proceeding to a jump-off but decided to share the gold medal.

Christian Petersen – Getty Images

It was Moon’s second consecutive gold medal at the World Championships. She also won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2020. With a personal record of 4.95 meters, Moon appeared to be the favorite.  

Kennedy, however, did not back down. Not only did she set a new personal record, but she 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 leap. 

“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.