Tokyo Olympics: Italian former long jumper Marcell Jacobs stuns field to win men’s 100m final

The first thing Marcell Jacobs did when he became Olympic champion was to call for an Italian flag, with a wonderfully Italian hand gesture. Born in America to a Texan father before moving to Brescia with his Italian mother as a child, he has always faced questions about his national allegiance and he has always answered the same way, with conviction, that he feels “100 per cent Italian”. If only he had been so decisive about his athletics he might have won a gold medal sooner.

For years Jacobs has split his energy between sprinting and the long jump; on most official websites you tend to find him listed as a long jumper first. That might change now after he conquered the most open men’s 100m final for decades. The 26-year-old delivered Italy’s first Olympic medal in the event with a personal best and national record 9.80, pulling away from America’s Fred Kerley who won silver in 9.84. Canada’s Andre de Grasse surged late to clock 9.89 and take bronze, just as he did in Rio five years ago.

For Great Britain there was disappointment as Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start. He had had a warning after his teammate Reece Prescod had been disqualified from the semi-final, but Hughes explained that a tweak in his calf had set him off. “It wasn’t pressure, I wasn’t nervous, it’s just that my calf cramped up … which is heartbreaking,” he said. “I’m really gutted right now. I just have to gather my thoughts right now and refocus.”

More to follow…

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