In the men's high jump event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the top 2 competitors were both tied after their final jump. They were given the choice of going to a jump off, or sharing the gold medal. They both decided to share the gold medal.

What would have happened if one of the competitors insisted on going to a jump-off because he wanted sole Olympic glory, and the other competitor insisted on sharing the gold medal because he didn't want to lose it? Would there have been a default option if the competitors didn't agree?

1 Answer 1


If both competitors don't agree to cancel the jumpoff, it will proceed as the default, and either competitor can forfeit the jumpoff (effectively "refusing" the jumpoff) making themselves the 2nd place finisher and the other athlete the winner.

26.8.1 The athlete with the lowest number of jumps at the height last cleared shall be awarded the higher place.

26.8.2 If the athletes are equal following the application of Rule 26.8.1 of the Technical Rules, the athlete with the lowest total of failures throughout the competition up to and including the height last cleared, shall be awarded the higher place.

26.8.3 If the athletes are still equal following the application of Rule 26.8.2 of the Technical Rules, the athletes concerned shall be awarded the same place unless it concerns the first place.

26.8.4 If it concerns the first place, a jump-off between these athletes shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 26.9 of the Technical Rules, unless otherwise decided, either in advance according to the regulations applying to the competition, or during the competition but before the start of the event by the Technical delegate(s) or the Referee if no Technical delegate has been appointed. If no jump-off is carried out, including where the relevant athletes at any stage decide not to jump further, the tie for first place shall remain. Note: This Rule 26.8.4 does not apply for a Combined Events Competition.

Rules source: https://www.worldathletics.org/download/download?filename=febae412-b673-4523-8321-e1ed092421dc.pdf&urlslug=C2.1

  • I don't see your conclusion in the rules you quoted. My reading of those rules is that to not have a jump-off, all players would have to agree. So if one player wants a jump-off, they will have a jump-off. Because in that case, not all players agree not to have one. Your conclusion, that the player who does not want to have a jump-off would lose it, might be what would happen if the player refused to participate in the jump-off. But those rules don't say. And that seems beyond this question about what the default is. The default is to have the jump-off.
    – mdfst13
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 2:21
  • When I try to download the PDF, I get a zero byte file. Also the wording is strange: the jump off is to be conducted "in advance" or "during the competition but before the start of the event"? Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 4:38
  • 1
    @pacoverflow I read that as saying "otherwise decided" needs to be in advance or before the start of the event itself unless the jumpers themselves all agree not to use it. I.e. it's basically saying that jump-offs will always occur to determine first place unless... And then it gives three ways that they can be avoided: by simple regulation if done before the competition starts, by the "Technical delegate(s)" after the overall competition starts but before this event starts, or by unanimous agreement of the jumpers.
    – mdfst13
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 6:17
  • @mdfst13 So the default is a jumpoff. This Tokyo 2020 event wasn't really carried out as if it was the default. If it was the default, then they should have proceeded with the jumpoff without even asking the athletes what they wanted to do. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 16:19
  • @pacoverflow Apologies, fixed the rules link.
    – habs
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 3:12

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