Texas-born Italian sprint from the unknown to the successor to Bolt

Tokyo (AP) —The 100 meters of the Olympic Games is an event that turns a sprinter into a king. Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt.

Sport was one of the rarest nights I’ve ever seen, and fans, professionals, and even racers themselves needed a lineup card.

The race, which has long defined the royal family of the Olympics, went to a Texas-born Italian who hadn’t broken for less than 10 seconds until this year. He was 26 years old and had the best day ever long jump. He is a man who really didn’t even know the runner in the next lane.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Marcell Jacobs is the fastest man in the world.

“I think it will take four or five years to understand and understand what’s going on,” Jacobs said.

The Italian crossed the line in 9.8 seconds on Sunday night and won the first 100-meter medal in a country known for his football skills. Pietro Mennea won 200 at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and Livio Berruti won the race at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Even in contests without a clear favorite — Ronnie Baker of the United States was a candidate and Su Bingtian of China ran a shocking 9.83 in the semifinals — Jacobs came out of nowhere.

He outperformed Fred Kerley, a 400-meter runner who shortened the distance to see a chance to win a medal, and Andre De Grasse, Canada, who added another 100 meters of bronze to the Rio winner.

Kerley finished second with 9.84, followed by DeGrasse with 9.89.

“I really don’t know anything about him,” Curly said of the new gold medalist. “He did a great job.”

Jacobs’ course was much clearer, depending on who wasn’t in the race. Active world champion Christian Coleman has banned doping test failures. The 2021 world leader and gold medal-winning favorite Trayvon Bromell was stuck in the semi-finals.

Bolt, who has commanded the Olympics and all other sprint stages since 2008, has retired.

He was certain in all nine Olympic sprints he ran at the Beijing Olympics. This was a spread of dominance that redefined athletics, but left a big hole in the sport when he called it a career.

“He changed athletics forever,” Jacobs said. “I was the one who won the Olympics after him. It’s incredible. But in comparison, I don’t think it’s the time.”

Bolt’s world record is 9.58.

Prior to Sunday, Jacobs’ personal best was 9.95.

“That is, 9.8 from the Italians?” DeGrasse said. “I didn’t expect that. I thought my main competitor was Americans.”

No. Italian.

Perhaps the only man who really knew the new champion on the track was the man who hugged him after crossing the finish line. It was Gianmarco Tamberi, an Italian high jumper who tied Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barsim with gold.

Tamberi and Balsim finished the night long jump in the heat of the heat. This was an unusual result of heading for a jump-off to determine gold and sliver. But after chatting with officials who told them that two gold medals were possible, Barsim (two world champions who won a silver medal in Rio and a bronze medal in London) agreed to call it the first tie. Did.

Bedlam followed.

Balsim rushed to the stand to celebrate. Tamberi covered his face with his hands and rolled to the ground. “I was in ecstasy,” he said. He was clearly a man looking for someone to hug.

A few minutes later, when Jacobs first crossed the line, he found him. Tamberi jumped into the arm of a wide-chested sprinter and rolled his arm around Jacobs’ bald head.

“My heart was exploding,” said Tamberi.

Only one night ago, they were sitting in a small room at Jacobs in the Olympic Village playing video games.

“And I said,’Can you imagine if you win?'” Jacobs said. “(We said)” No, no, no. That’s impossible. Don’t think about this. “

Shortly after winning the two gold medals, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi clearly stated, “You are honoring Italy,” and when the players returned, invited them to his office, Chigi Palace. I announced that. House.

They were one of the many beautiful moments of the most unusual third day of Olympic athletics. Another highlight is Venezuela’s Julimar Rojas triple jumping the 26-year-old world record. Her new mark is 51 feet 5 inches (15.67 meters).

The other vignettes did not contain medals.

Luza Kozak stumbled upon a hurdle and overlooked three lanes to see Jamaica’s opponent, Janique Thompson, following the same fate. Kozak helped her stand up.

Then, in the men’s 800 semi-finals, American Isaia Juette entwined with Nijel Amos in Botswana, and the two fell. They helped each other and slowly jogged towards the finish line.

“I don’t want bad blood, because that’s what heroes do. They show their humanity through who they are and show that they are good people.” Jewett said.

Another gold medal of the day was given to China’s Gong Lijao, who defeated American Raven Saunders in the United States.

Black and gay Sanders wore an “incredible Hulk” mask during the competition, lifted his arms overhead and formed an “X” on his wrist to conclude the medal ceremony.

“It’s a crossroads where all the oppressed people meet,” she explained.

Everything is memorable.

And almost no one knew the man.

Even though the run was held in front of an almost empty stadium, I was actually able to hear the collective “who?” It echoes throughout the seat. From all places, except from the Italian delegation.

An hour after the victory, some of these reporters and coaches were taking pictures with their new high jump and sprint heroes. They hung the Italian green, white and red flags on their shoulders and hugged them — the COVID protocol was terrible.

It was quite a night for Jacobs, who was born in El Paso, the son of an American father and an Italian mother. When Jacobs was six months old, his parents broke up and he moved to Italy and didn’t know his father.

When the sprinters tried to learn about his roots, they reconnected by phone about a year ago.

Now the world is learning about him.

“My dream was to get here and play the finals,” Jacobs said. “And we played the final. And we won the final. It’s amazing. There are no words to explain this moment.”


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The Italian center Lamont Jacobs celebrates after winning the men’s 100-meter final at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday, August 1, 2021. (AP Photo / David J. Philip)

Texas-born Italian sprint from the unknown to the successor to Bolt

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