Of an American father, yes, but he is Italian, of an Italian mother. Born in El Paso (Texas), but living in Italy since the age of five. Lamont Marcell Jacobs, 26, is the rare heir to the legendary Usain Bolt as the 100-meter Olympic champion.
If someone had bet on him last week he would have gotten rich. His name did not appear in any forecast, but it is evident that the withdrawal of the Jamaican star has left a mixed picture, without a clear hierarchy, in male speed.
American Justin Gatlin, who at 35 years old succeeded Bolt as world champion in London 2017, has disappeared from the scene, and his compatriot Christian Coleman, who was champion two years later in Doha, is suspended for not being reachable for doping controls .
To make matters worse, the fastest of the year, the American Trayvon Bromell, fell here in the semifinals by one thousandth.
The panorama was very disturbed minutes before the final because any of the eight who lined up at the start considered, in their hearts, qualified to win the gold medal in the queen test of the Games.
Jacobs had been warning since the first round, lowering his mark every time he intervened: 9.94, Italian record, in his first race; 9.84, European record, in the semifinals.
With such credentials it was not unreasonable to think big. “Crazy” Jacobs, married with two children, set out decisively, with nothing to lose, and found an unexpected gold medal wrapped in a new record: 9.80. A complete display, to take your hat off.
Trained by Paolo Camossi since 2015, Jacobs was about to choose basketball, the sport that his father, a member of the United States Army, has always practiced, but he leaned towards athletics and his choice could not have been more successful.
Two years ago, at the Doha World Cups, he couldn’t even be in the final. He fell in the semifinals with a mark of 10.20, but the pandemic, far from harming his sporting progression, has shot him to the top of the ladder.
A lover of Formula 1 and an admirer of the world champion, the British Lewis Hamilton, Jacobs is now the new car in world athletics.