Five Classy Olympic Moments That Should Win a Gold Medal For Inspiration

The Tokyo Summer Olympics is bringing out the best in all of us.

We’ve been looking for inspiring stories and have found some great shows of humility, humanity, and smarts. Here’s a roundup of our favorite moments from the games, so far.

  1. Swimmer Wins Gold And Tosses it to Teammate in the Bleachers
    When the schedule for a swimming relay race was radically altered, it left one American athlete sitting out of the qualifying heats to stay fresh for final.

Then, in a display of sportsmanship after winning gold, Caeleb Dressel found his teammate in the stands and tossed him the medal.

After the team’s first-place finish, as a show of thanks, Dressel located Brooks Curry in the stands and tossed him his gold medal, diverting the gaze of the world toward the man whose fast swimming got them to the finals.

While Curry would later receive a medal of his own, only the finalists got to stand on the podium—and Dressel took the opportunity to show what teamwork is all about.

  1. Runners Crash, But Then Join Forces to Cross Finish Line Together
    Team USA’s Isaiah Jewett had a good shot at the men’s 800m, but a Botswana runner in front of him fell and they both crashed to the track in a tangle. However, the heartwarming scene that followed proved a real winner.

Jewett could see that Nijel Amos was also devastated, so he offered his competitor a hand up, and the pair supported one another, determined to complete the race and cross the finish line together.

“He apologized, and I was like, ‘Let’s just finish the race,’” he told the Los Angles Times.

  1. High Jumpers Decide to Share the Gold
    In a real nail-biter, two athletes in the men’s high jump had perfect scores—each had cleared jumps of 2.37 meters (7 feet, 9.25 inches).

Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy and Mutaz Barshim from Qatar had similarly tied in 2010, and had formed a unique bond between champions—especially after each faced career-ending ankle injuries, but recovered. Tamberi was even on hand for Barshim’s 2018 wedding in Sweden.

Normally, an Olympic winner would be determined by a jump-off, in case of a tie. But, Barshim spontaneously asked officials if the two men, who were now longtime friends, could share the gold—and they were given the green light.

“I look at him, he looks at me, and we know it,” Barshim told the CBC. “This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit.”

  1. Brother and Sister Score First-Ever Same-Day Gold Medal Wins
    In a heartwarming moment for their family—and the host nation of Japan—a brother and sister, after a prolonged overtime battle, won gold on the same day.

21-yer-old Abe Uta took the top prize in the women’s judo finals and, hours later, her brother Hifumi threw down for top honors in the men’s division—making them the first brother and sister pair ever to win Olympic gold on the same day.

“This was a dream for us,” Uta told the media, “It makes me believe dream comes true as long as I try to achieve it.”

Her brother didn’t feel any pressure, rather: “It made me crave for it… Today is the best day of my life.”

  1. Mathematics Professor Wins Cycling Gold
    Without a coach or any endorsement support, a 30-year-old with a Ph.D. in mathematics won the gold medal for Austria.

After 91 miles of pedaling (147km), Anna Kiesenhofer crossed the finish line ahead of both the defending champion and the world titleholder, by solving the equation for training all on her own.

Considered a novice in the sport, Kiesenhofer credits her gold-medal performance to the ‘beautiful mind’ she’s cultivated in her chosen field. “As a mathematician, you’re used to solving problems on your own, so that’s the way I approach cycling,” she told CNN.

“Many cyclists…have a trainer, they have a nutritionist, they have the guy that plans the race for them. I just do all these jobs myself.”