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Tokyo Moment: Marcel Jacobs is Usain Bolt’s heir to 100m; becomes the first Italian to be the fastest man on Earth


Marcell Jacobs from Italy, put in a scintillating performance to achieve a victory in the Men’s 100m Sprint Final. Racing from lane three, Jacobs surprised everybody by crossing the finish line in a national record time of 9.80 seconds, at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

It was a quality field that Marcell Jacobs triumphed over, which included Fred Kerley from USA and Andre de Grasse from Canada. Kerley picked up the silver medal with a time of 9.84 seconds, while De Grasse bagged the bronze medal after finishing the 100m in 9.89 secs. With this historic win, Jacobs became the new Men’s 100m Olympic champion in the era that follows the retirement of sprinting legend Usain Bolt.

Bolt had held the podium’s top spot for more than a decade after winning the Olympics’ premier Sprinting event in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Jacob’s win, with him having no prior experience in racing in major championship finals, came as a major shock for everyone. He earned his place on the starting line of the final, which is incidentally his first-ever Olympic 100m final, after being one of two ‘fastest losers’ in the semi-finals. 

Proving his worth, Jacobs claimed the gold medal at Tokyo 2020, to give Italy, the nation’s first Olympic medal in the men’s 100m sprint. He became the first European, after Linford Christie of Great Britain at Barcelona 1992, to win the Olympic 100m title. This is also Italy’s first medal in any Athletics Sprint event, after Pietro Mennea bagged the gold in the men’s 200m in 1980 Moscow Olympics

“I didn’t look right, I didn’t look left. I just focused on running as fast as possible. I wasn’t the favourite. But my start was great, then I had this burst of speed. I thought I could run 9.79 – but I was happy with 9.8.”

Jacobs, born to an Italian mother and an African-American father, grew up in Desenzano del Garda in Italy after his father was transferred to South Korea. Initially he preferred sprinting but later became a promising long jumper. Three years back, Jacobs moved to Rome where he started preparing for the Olympics with a chiropractor, a nutritionist and a mental coach. It is there that he realised that he could be a competitor in the Men’s 100m Sprint at the Olympics. Jacobs, even reunited with his father, who lives in Texas and that acted as a mental booster. 

When Jacobs crossed the line, it was an impossible dream that came true and he savoured the moment with a roar and flexed muscles. 

“I don’t know, it’s a dream, a dream, it is fantastic. Maybe tomorrow I can imagine what they are saying, but today it is incredible.”

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