Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Ōe were Japanese pole vaulters who shared their medals, blazing a path for Olympic humility and team spirit.
Pole vaulting has been an individual sport since its inception in the mid-19th century. Except for on August 5, 1936. The day pole vaulting became a sport about team spirit was at the men’s pole vault event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Five pole vaulters were left after clearing a height of 4m 15 cm. Three Americans: Earle Meadows, William ‘Bill’ Sefton, William ‘Bill Graber; and two Japanese: Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Ōe.
Two of the Americans went first, with Graber failing to clear 4m 25cm in his three allocated attempts. Meadows then stepped up and was not only able to clear 4m 25cm, but also 4m 35 cm, a height that Sefton, Nishida, and Ōe were unsuccessful in, thus allowing Meadows to take gold.
The remaining three were left to battle it out for who would take silver and bronze. All three cleared 4m 25cm, so they had an extra vault as a tie-breaker. Sefton was unable to clear his bar, while both Nishida and Ōe did. The Japanese duo won, securing second and third place, respectively.