We now have the successor for the great Usain Bolt. And surprise. It is neither a Jamican, nor an American. In fact, Bolt would not have understood what went down on the Olympic track he had made his own.
On the evening of the 100-metre gold medal race, a Texas-born Italian with a history in long jump than sprints won the race that defines Olympic royalty.
Also Read | Greatness on Repeat: PV Sindhu Beats He Bingjiao to Win Bronze at Tokyo Olympics
At the Tokyo Olympics, Marcell Jacobs became the World’s Fastest Man.
The Italian crossed the line in 9.8 seconds Sunday, the first medal ever for the country in the 100 metres. In sprints, Italians don’t have a rich tradition though they have won medals in the 200 metres -- Pietro Mennea won in 1980 and Livio Berruti won that race at the 1960 Games in Rome.
In the final in Tokyo which had no clear favorites at the start, American Ronnie Baker was a candidate and China’s Su Bingtain ran a shocking 9.83 in the semis. However, Jacobs was a surprise by all means.
Also Read | Tokyo Drift: Indian Hockey Team on Verge of Bringing it Home; Beats Britain to Enter Semis
Jacobs topped America’s Fred Kerley and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse to take the title Bolt had kept his own since 2008.
“I really don’t know anything about him,” Kerley said of the new gold medalist. “He did a fantastic job.”
Jacobs’ victory came only moments after his countryman, Gianmarco Tamberi, tied Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim for gold in the high jump.
Tamberi, writhing on the ground, kicking his feet up in jubilation after his crazy win, was a man in need of someone to hug.
Click | For More Coverage of the Tokyo Olympics From Newsclick Sports
He found him when Jacobs, of all people, crossed the line first, and celebrated by jumping into the broad-chested sprinter’s arms and curling his own arm around Jacobs’ bald head.
Jacobs victory left everyone outside Italy – and maybe some in the country, as well – letting out a collective “Who?”
He was born in El Paso, Texas – the son of an American father and an Italian mother. He moved to Italy as a young boy when the US military transferred his dad to South Korea. He was a long-jump specialist for years, and his biggest major running success came in an indoor 60-metre title at European champions earlier this year.
His personal best was an Italian record, 9.95 seconds, set in May. It was the first time he’d broken 10 seconds. Now, he’s on the list with Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Bolt — an Olympic 100-metre champion.
(With additions from PTI/AP)
Read more sports stories from Newsclick