One of the most delightful displays of showmanship—and sportsmanship—in the Tokyo Olympics so far took place on Sunday, during the men’s high jump. Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy matched each other leap-for-leap all evening, until they both failed to clear 7 feet 10 inches after three tries. Their options were to enter a sudden-death jump-off—or to share the gold medal. After Barshim, wearing a cap featuring his personal logo, iconically asked for clarification—“Can we have two golds?”—Tamberi, sporting a covetable top knot and pair of personalized socks featuring his own face, leapt into his arms. However, what made the moment so electrifying wasn’t just the outcome, but the lead-up: watching two incredible athletes (who also happen to be close friends) not only jump their hearts out, but doing so in a manner that was downright swaggy.
Of all the Olympic sports, the track and field events are always particularly stylish: shortly after his own win, an elated Tamberi ran to embrace his fellow countryman Lamont Marcell Jacobs. Jacobs, of course, had just become the first-ever Italian to win the 100-meter dash—and did so while wearing a pretty stunning diamond necklace.
The high jump’s sartorial standout might have been the pair of Oakley Kato sunglasses that Barshim wore throughout the nighttime competition. These weren’t exactly functional. It was, of course, dark, and the shades flew off his face pretty much every time he cleared the bar. (As the camera cut to him while he readjusted them before each jump, the stripes on the track would reflect back in the sci-fi lenses, mirroring the stripes on the Qatari Olympic uniform. Someone call a cinematographer!) Deeply futuristic, wraparound sunglasses have been on the up-and-up for a while now—though in the world of professional sports, they were never really out. While the Katos are currently sold out on Oakley’s website due to high demand, if you’ve been thinking about getting a pair, now might be the time to get yourself on the waiting list. You might be competing with a gold medalist, though: As the New York Times reported, in the moments after their post-gold embrace, Barshim actually broke the glasses he was wearing. “It’s OK,” he said. “I’ve got like 50 pairs.”
Sadly, there is not yet an Olympic competition for personal style. But if there were, Barshim and Tamberi would definitely share the honorary gold there, too.
Originally posted 2021-08-03 00:11:04.