Usain Bolt has found an unlikely successor at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in Italian athlete, Lamont Marcell Jacobs. Earning gold in the 100-metre sprint final, while the 26-year-old has yet to break the all-time world record set by Bolt during the 2009 World Championships (9.58 seconds), he did manage to record a finishing time of 9.8 seconds.
Incredibly enough, not only has Lamont Marcell Jacobs – originally born in El Paso, Texas – successfully made the transition from professional long jumper to sprinter in just three years, defied the 30-1 Vegas betting odds, and gone down in history as the first Italian to ever clinch the 100-metre Olympic title… prior to this, he had never won a serious outdoor sprint competition in his entire life.
Two years ago, he had reached the semi-finals of the 100-metre sprint at the World Championships, before eventually fizzling out in 19th place. Over time, however, his work with a bespoke team he assembled in Rome – which includes a mental coach, nutritionist, chiropractor, and more – began to pay off in spades.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 indoor seasons, Jacobs ascended to the rank of World Leader for the 60-metre sprint. In May of this year, Jacobs set the Italian 100-metre sprint record in Savona (9.95 seconds), becoming just the 150th person in history to break the 10-second barrier. And now, in the post-Bolt landscape, his Olympic dream has now been fully-realised.
“It is amazing, it is fantastic, it is a dream… Olympic champion in the 100-metre, I have no words,” says Jacobs.
“It is a gold medal, it is forever, I am very happy. Watching [compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi] was a massive boost. I though: ‘If he can do it, you can win a gold medal too.’”
“I didn’t look right, I didn’t look left. I just focused on running as fast as possible. I wasn’t the favourite. But my start was great, then I had this burst of speed. I thought I could run 9.79 – but I was happy with 9.8.”
Incidentally, the night before his major career victory, Jacobs and and Tamberi had reportedly been shootin’ the shit while logging a PlayStation session at the athletes’ village. Both parties had (hilariously) agreed winning gold in their respective events would be “far too crazy” to actually happen.
Yet here we are.