The Italian sprinter Marcell Jacobs caused a major sensation in the men’s Olympic 100m final by storming to his country’s first gold medal in the event.
On an evening of pulsating drama the 26-year-old, a former long jumper, powered clear in the last 30m to win in 9.80sec. The American Fred Kerley was second in 9.84sec while Canada’s Andre De Grasse flew home in 9.89 to take bronze.
Jacobs said watching his compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi take gold in the high jump minutes earlier had been a huge lift – and suggested Italy would party again like they did after Euro 2020. “It is amazing, it is fantastic, it is a dream, Olympic champion in the 100m … I have no words,” he said.
“It is a gold medal, it is for ever, I am very happy. Watching Gianmarco was a massive boost, it is fantastic. My objective was to arrive in the final, maximum concentration and run my line. It is fantastic for Italy, I think there is a big party like for the football.”
The Italian had originally planned to follow his father into basketball before deciding to become a track and field athlete. But in his early years he focused on the long jump, with his best legal jump a decent but not exceptional 8.07m indoors. Having switched to sprinting, though, he showed his potential by reaching the semi-finals of the Doha 2019 world championships.
Before the athletes were announced the stadium was plunged in darkness, and the names of the finalists read out, starting with the barrel-chested Enoch…