Japanese pole vaulters Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. An American won the gold medal, but the Japanese teammates tied for second place.
They didn't want to compete directly with each other for second and third place, but continued to jump until it became too dark to continue. At 9 p.m. the judges ended the competition and told the Japanese team to decide who would be given second place.
Finally, it was settled that Nishida won the second place by vaulting 4 meters and 25 centimeters in his first try and Oe won the third place by vaulting the same height as Nishida in his second try. For the Olympic records, Oe took the bronze and Nishida took the silver. Neither one of them was happy with that result.
When the friends returned to Japan, they came up with a plan. They took their medals to a jeweler who cut them both in half. Then they joined half of the silver medal with half of the bronze medal, creating a half-silver, half-bronze medal for each of them. The medals became known as the Medals of Eternal Friendship.