The 100m at the Olympics is the race that makes sprinters kings: Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt.
Fans, experts, as well as racers, needed to have a lineup card for one of the most bizarre nights in the sport’s history.
The race that has been synonymous with Olympic royalty was won by a Texas-born Italian, who had never broken 10 seconds before this year. The 26-year old is a long jumper whose best days were before this year. He is a man that even the runner next to him doesn’t know.
Marcell Jacobs, The World’s Fastest Man, is competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
Jacobs stated, “I believe I need four to five years to understand and comprehend what’s going on.”
The first ever 100-meter medal for Italy was won by the Italian on Sunday night in 9.8 seconds. It is a country best known for its soccer skills. Pietro Mennea won 200 at the 1980 Olympics, Moscow. Livio Berruti won this race at the 1960 Games, Rome.
Jacobs was the surprise package in an election with no clear winners — American Ronnie Baker was a candidate, and Su Bingtian from China ran a shocking 9.83 during the semis.
He beat Fred Kerley of America, a 400-meter runner, who was looking for a medal opportunity, and Andre DeGrasse from Canada, who added another 100-meter bronze to his Rio win.
Kerley was second with 9.84, followed by DeGrasse at 9.89.
Kerley stated that he didn’t know much about the new gold medalist. He did a great job.”
Jacobs’ path became clearer due to the absence of others in the race. Christian Coleman, the reigning world champion is currently under a ban because he failed to submit to doping tests. Trayvon Bromell was the world’s leader in 2021, and the favourite to win the gold. He didn’t make the semifinals.
Bolt, who has commanded the Olympic and all other sprint stages since 2008, is now retired.
He was a certain thing in every one of the nine Olympic sprints that he ran starting at the Beijing Games. This streak of dominance redefined track and fields, but also left a void in the sport when he declared it a career.
Jacobs stated, “He changed the athletics forever.” Jacobs said, “He changed athletics forever.” It’s amazing. However, if you make comparisons, it doesn’t seem like the right time.
Bolt holds the world record at 9.58
Jacobs’ personal record was 9.95 before Sunday.
DeGrasse stated, “I mean 9.8 from an Italian guy?” “I didn’t expect that. “I thought the Americans would be my main competitor.”
Nope. It’s the Italians.
Perhaps the only person at the track who really knew the new champ was the man who hugged him after he crossed the finish line. Gianmarco Tamberi was the Italian high jumper that tied Qatari’s Mutaz Essa Barshim to gold.
Tamberi and Barshim finished their long jump-fest in a dead Heat. This was a rare result and it looked like they were headed for a jump off to decide the gold and silver. Barshim, the two-time world champion and winner of silver in Rio as well as bronze in London, agreed to call it a tie.
Barshim ran to the stands in celebration. Tamberi covered his face in his hands and rolled to the ground. He said, “I was in ecstasy.” He seemed to be a man in search of someone to hug.
Just a few minutes later, Jacobs was first to cross the finish line. Tamberi jumped into the arms of Jacobs, a broad-chested sprinter. He curled his arm around Jacobs’ head.
Tamberi stated, “My heart was exploding.”
They had just sat in Jacobs’ small room in the Olympic village, playing video games.
“And we said, ‘Can you imagine if we win?”” Jacobs said. “(We) said, “No, no. It is impossible. It’s impossible.
Mario Draghi, Italy’s premier, declared the obvious shortly after the golds were secured. He said, “You’re honoring Italy” and promised to invite the athletes to his Chigi Palace office when they return home.
It was just one of many wonderful moments from Day 3 at the Olympic track meet. Another highlight came from Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas’ toppling of a 26-year-old world record in the triple jump. She now stands at 51 feet 5 inches (15.67m).
Other vignettes didn’t involve medals.
Luca Kozak fell on a hurdle, and she looked across three lanes to see that Yanique Thompson, a Jamaican competitor, had also fallen. Kozak helped her to her feet.
Later, in the men’s 800 semifinals, American Isaiah Jewett got tangled up with Botswana’s Nijel Amos and the two went tumbling to the ground. They helped one another up, and they jogged together towards the finish line.
Jewett stated, “I don’t want any bad blood because that’s what heroes do — show their humanity through who and show they’re good people.”
The day’s other gold medal went to Gong Lijao of China, who bested American Raven Saunders of the United States.
Saunders, a Black and Gay competitor, closes out the medals ceremony with a “Incredible Hulk” mask. She raises her arms high above her head, and forms an “X” shape with her wrists.
She explained that it was the place where oppressed people meet.
All of them memorable.
The man that no one knew was then born.
The run was held in front of almost empty stadiums, but you could hear the collective “Who?” echoing through the seats. Except for the Italian contingent, it was heard from all directions.
Some of the reporters and coaches were still on the track, taking photos with the country’s new sprint and high-jump heroes an hour after the win. They had Italy’s red, green and white flag wrapped around their shoulders and they were still hugging it — COVID protocols not to be considered.
Jacobs was born in El Paso, the son of an American father with an Italian mother. Jacobs’ parents divorced when he was six months old. He moved to Italy with his mother and never met his father again.
The sprinter attempted to find out his roots and they reconnected by phone about a year ago.
The world is now learning more about him.
Jacobs stated, “My dream was for me to run a final.” We ran a final. We won the final. It was amazing. It’s amazing.