The Italian Lamont Jacobs, the Olympic champion in the 100 meters of Tokyo 2020


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The Italian Lamont Jacobs, the Olympic champion in the 100 meters of Tokyo 2020

Forty-one years after the 200-meter Olympic title won by Pietro Mennea in Moscow ’80, another Italian sprinter, Lamont Jacobs, was proclaimed Olympic champion, now in 100 meters, with a mark of 9.80 that makes him a successor to the legendary Usain Bolt.

American Fred Kerlei (9.84) and Canadian Andre de Grasse (9.89) completed the podium ahead of South African Akani Simbine (9.93), American Ronnie Baker (9.95), Chinese Su Bingtian (9.98) and Nigerian Enoch Adegoke, who did not finish.

Britain’s Zharnel Hugues was disqualified for false start.

The great unknown of athletics at the Tokyo Games was revealed in 9.80 seconds and in a totally unexpected direction. Jacobs, of an American father and Italian mother, is the heir to Bolt, the already legendary sprinter who had won the three previous Olympic titles, always in a double with the 200.

The fearsome humid heat of Tokyo at this time, which took pity on the athletes for the first two days, broke in on Sunday to make life bitter inside the stadium, under the greenhouse effect of 36 degrees and 64 percent humidity.

The semifinals already threw several surprises, as if the ranking had gone crazy in the absence of the pattern of the previous decade. Trayvon Bromell, the fastest of the year (9.77), was left out of the final by one thousandth, the advantage with which the Nigerian Enoch Hugues entered ahead of him in the second series, dominated by the British Zharnel Hugues with 9.98.

Both were credited with 10.00, but the judges, after examining the arrival photo for several minutes, decided that the African had crossed the line one thousandth before the North American (995 versus 996).

Lamont Jacobs’ mark in the semifinals, in which he beat by two hundredths, with 9.84, the European record of the Portuguese Francis Obikwelu (2004) was a first warning for sailors. The test was left without an owner and victory was almost within the reach of any of the finalists.

Jacobs returned Olympic primacy to Europe twenty-one years after the victory of the Greek cheater Konstantinos Kenteris in Sydney 2000 and emulates the gold of another Italian, Pietro Mennea, in the 200 of Moscow’80.

The stands that 31 years ago, in the third edition of the World Cups, roared with the long final that threw the best jump in history, Mike Powell’s 8.95 meters, put this Sunday, empty by the pandemic, a strange backdrop to Jacob’s deed.

The height final distributed two gold medals. The Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim and the Italian Gianmarco Tamberi will share the highest step of the podium after achieving, together, the Olympic height title with a mark of 2.37 without a single previous failure, before failing on 2.39.

With the same mark as them, but with a null jump at 2.19, the first height he tried, the Belarusian Maksim Nedasekau had to content himself with the bronze medal.

With silver medals in London 2012 and Rio 2016, Barshim, the best high jumper since the times of Cuban Javier Sotomayor, with 11 jumps above 2.40 meters since 2013, was looking for his 30-year-old in Tokyo. first gold after being a two-time world champion.


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