Italian Jacobs takes surprising gold in Olympic 100 | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Italian Jacobs takes surprising gold in Olympic 100

AP | Tokyo

The Daily Tribune –

The 100 meters at the Olympics is the event that turns sprinters into kings: Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, said AP.

On one of the most unusual nights this sport has ever seen, fans, experts, and even the racers themselves needed a lineup card. 

The race that has long defined Olympic royalty went to a Texas-born Italian who hadn’t cracked 10 seconds in a 100 until this year.

He’s a 26-year-old whose best days before this came in the long jump. He’s a man who even the runner in the lane next to him didn’t really know. At the Tokyo Olympics, Marcell Jacobs is The World’s Fastest Man.

The Italian crossed the line in 9.8 seconds Sunday night to capture the first 100-meter medal ever for the country better known for its soccer prowess. Pietro Mennea won the 200 at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Livio Berruti won that race at the 1960 Games in Rome.

Even in a race with no clear favourites — American Ronnie Baker was a candidate and China’s Su Bingtain ran a shocking 9.83 in the semis — Jacobs came from nowhere.

He topped America’s Fred Kerley, a 400-meter runner who moved down in distance because he saw a medal chance here, and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, who adds another 100-meter bronze to the one he won in Rio. Kerley finished second in 9.84 and DeGrasse was next at 9.89.

Jacobs’ path was made that much clearer because of who wasn’t in the race. The reigning world champion, Christian Coleman, is serving a ban for missed doping tests.

The world leader in 2021 and the favourite to win the gold, Trayvon Bromell, didn’t make it out of the semifinals.

Bolt, who has commandeered the Olympic and every other sprint stage since 2008, is long gone.