Marcell Jacobs won a surprising victory in the final of 100 meter dash for the Tokyo Games this Sunday, becoming the first Italian to win the most coveted title in athletics and breaking the European record with 9.80 seconds.
American Fred Kerley took silver on his personal best, 9.84, with Canadian Andre de Grasse repeating his 2016 bronze in a time of 9.89.
In qualifying, Jacobs had already set a European record with 9.84 to become the first Italian to reach the final. But even in the most open match in decades, the athlete who had never run below 10 seconds until this year still looked far from the first European winner since Briton Linford Christie in 1992.
After Briton Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start, adding to the tension, Jacobs had an explosive start and kept up the pace for an incredible victory.
“It’s been my dream since I was a kid,” said Jacobs, who was born in the United States but moved to Europe with his Italian mother when he was a month old.
“I need a week or more to understand what happened. Seeing (his compatriot) Gimbo (Tamberi) win the high jump gold (10 minutes earlier) got me very excited.”
“I won an Olympic gold after Usain Bolt, it’s unbelievable,” he added.