Nina Kennedy's stunning backflip after controversy over shared gold medal

The Aussie pole-vaulter won't be doing the same at the Paris Olympics next year.

Nina Kennedy and Katie Moon at the world athletics championships.
Nina Kennedy and Katie Moon shared the gold medal at the world athletics championships. Image: Getty

Aussie pole-vaulter Nina Kennedy has revealed she won't be sharing a gold medal again if the same situation arises at next year's Olympics. Kennedy and American rival Katie Moon both walked away with a gold medal after they couldn't be split at the recent world championships in Budapest.

Under pole vault rules, the athletes can opt to share the gold rather than move to a sudden-death jump-off if they are even after three attempts. Kennedy and Moon were more than happy to share the medal and both walked away with the gold.

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The move divided opinion and caused some controversy in the athletics world, with American sprint legend Michael Johnson among the many to question the rules. Speaking on Sunday, Kennedy said she was more than happy to share with Moon in Budapest, but won't be repeating the move it it comes up again at Olympics.

"I've had a week to think about it, and I'll definitely keep thinking about it in the next few weeks, but I think maybe next year if the exact same thing happened in Paris at the Olympics, I don't think I would share," she told Channel 9's 'Sports Sunday' program. "I think it just really sums up where I'm at in my career and then maybe in the future I will want that individual title."

Aussie pole-vaulting great Steve Hooker threw his support behind Kennedy and Moon sharing the gold. "I think to get to that point, to have exhausted your competition and to have finished tied with someone, particularly tied with someone that you've got a lot of respect for, it's an amazing result ," he said.

"If it's two people that dip and cross the line together in a 100 metres, for example, and they call a tie, it's a dead heat, they share the medal, no one's saying go and race 100 metres again. It's within the rules that they can split the medal. If they're tied at the end of the competition you can't make them run in and keep taking jumps. If they're comfortable with that position at the end of the competition it's within their rights to make that decision. I think it's a beautiful moment in sport."

Nina Kennedy and Katie Moon at the Zurich Diamond League event.
Nina Kennedy (centre) beat Katie Moon (L) a week later at the Zurich Diamond League event. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Nina Kennedy and Katie Moon decision labelled 'shameful'

Moon had previously responded to a raft of backlash about the decision to share, saying it would have been dangerous for her and Kennedy to keep competing. "I would like to help enlighten those that are calling us 'cowards,' 'shameful,' 'pathetic,' etc. I know you can't make everyone happy in this world but in an effort to help people understand the sport that I love so much," she wrote on social media.

"The pole vault is not an endurance event. We have a short window of jumps once the fatigue sets in. It not only becomes more difficult but dangerous. The sport has seen everything from athletes just landing funny with minor tweaks to horrific accidents.

"To walk away healthy and with a gold medal while celebrating with my friend that had jumped just as well was a no-brainer. Part of the reason we've reached the highest level is by listening to our bodies.

"I understand that people want to see a clear winner. But in this instance, it was without a doubt the right decision, and one that I will never regret. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a 'win at all cost' mindset to have a champion's mentality."

Kennedy got the better of Moon just one week later at the Diamond League event in Zurich. The Aussie broke the national and Oceania record as she won with a best effort of 4.91 metres.

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