Paris 2024 may be my last Olympics, says Barshim

Paris 2024 may be my last Olympics, says Barshim

Alkass Digital

Qatar’s high jump superstar, Mutaz Barshim has said the upcoming Paris 2024 Games may be his final appearance in the Olympics.

Speaking to an international media outlet, the reigning Olympic champion hinted he is longing to leave a lasting legacy in his pet event, adding he wants to “stretch out the lead” as the top high jumper the world has seen.

“Paris Olympics. I think it’s gonna be my last. To be honest I really think so. I’ve been saying this is my last (competing season) for like two or three years now, but I’m still here. But I think Paris is gonna be my last,” Barshim said in a video, reposted by the Qatar Athletics Federation yesterday.

Barshim made his debut in the Olympics at the 2012 London Games, where he managed to finish third and initially won a bronze medal. Barshim’s bronze was upgraded to a silver after the second-placed Russian athlete Ivan Ukhov was stripped off his medal due to doping. The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics helped Barshim further cement his status as one of the world’s best high jumpers after he won a silver medal, clearing 2.36 meters and narrowly missing the top mark claimed by Canada’s Derek Drouin. This silver medal was Qatar’s highest Olympic accolade at the time, but Barshim improved the same at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, winning a gold medal – that too - in a heartwarming fashion as it became the highlight of Barshim’s Olympic career. In a dramatic finale, Barshim shared the gold medal with his lifelong friend, Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi.

Both athletes cleared 2.37 meters without failures up to that mark and the two friends decided to share the gold rather than going for a jump-off.

“For me, sharing that medal, that had a deeper meaning you know. I’m very proud of it and like I said, I think it’s one of the greatest moments of the Olympic history that will always keep repeating itself,” Barshim said as he recalled their decision which sent shockwaves across the sports world as they highlighted the value of sportsmanship.

However, Barshim insisted that it won’t happen again.

“Yeah, no, definitely it will never happen again. You know for me it feels like it’s a one-moment thing. It was the history and the story behind it. But no, we support people. We are very aggressive, we are hungry for more. I want to be the best. They want to be the best. You want to be the best above everyone. So for me, no, that will never happen again. So we’ll fight to the end,” the three-time world champion said.

Barshim said he is excited to return to the biggest stage.

“Fast forward now preparing for Paris, you know big stadium, crowd coming out cheering, I think it’s gonna be a different scenario and definitely gonna add up, you know to that feel you know come to the Olympic Stadium with everyone shouting and the crowd really behind you I think is gonna be amazing,” Barshim said.

The Qatari athlete, who holds both indoor and outdoor Asian records at 2.43 metres and 2.41 metres respectively, said he wants to create a lasting legacy in the high jump and probably add one more Olympic medal to his collection.

“I want to create a legacy. When I retire, I want to look back and say: ‘I’ve done the most that’s possible to be done.’ Adding one more medal, like in Paris, definitely will stretch out the lead and make it more difficult for the next high jumper... to pass me. I want them to look at me and, hopefully, to be one of the greats. I want my name to be mentioned whenever the high jump is mentioned,” Barshim said.

Barshim, who boasts of the second-highest jump (2.43m) of all time, will compete in the high jump qualifying round on August 7 ahead of the August 10 final at the iconic State de France.