Lamont Marcell Jacobs stormed to a shocking victory in the Olympic Games 100m final on Sunday to take a gold double for Italy on a dramatic day of athletics action at the Tokyo Games.
Jacobs became the first Italian in history to be crowned champion in the blue riband event of the Olympic athletics program after riding home in a blistering 9.80sec.
Fred Kerley from the United States took silver in 9.84 seconds and Andre de Grasse from Canada in 9.89 seconds.
Jacobs, 26, exploded as he crossed the finish line and jumped into the arms of compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who had just won a rare shared gold medal for Italy in the high jump after a duel with Qatari world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim.
It was the final act of a pulsating day three of athletics at the Olympic Stadium, which also saw a stunning world record-breaking gold medal win in the triple jump for Venezuela’s two-time world champion Yulimar Rojas.
But the undisputed performance of the evening was from Italian Jacobs, who had never gone under 10 seconds before the 2021 season.
The muscular sprinter from El Paso, Texas, had only finished third in his semifinal earlier on Sunday, clocking 9.84 seconds behind Su Bingtian of China and Ronnie Baker of the US, placing him as one of two fastest losers qualified for the final.
But in the final, he roared out of the blocks, hit the front around 50m and then held on to become the first Olympic 100m gold medalist of the post-Usain Bolt era.
“It’s unbelievable,” Jacobs said afterwards. “My dream was to arrive here and ride a final. We do a final and we win a final.”
Jacobs thanks improved nutrition, mentality
Jacobs said his dramatic improvement in times this season was due to improvements in training, nutrition and mindset.
“I work really hard with my mind,” Jacobs told AFP. “Because when I arrived at the big moment, my legs don’t work very well. Now my legs go really well when it’s a big moment.
“We changed the starts. And we work mentality. Mentality, good food, good physiotherapy.”
After crossing the line, Jacobs was greeted by high jumper Tamberi, who had won part of the gold medal with Barshim a few minutes earlier.
Both men hugged after settling for gold after they both achieved a best distance of 2.37 metres.
“This is a dream I don’t want to wake up from,” Barshim said. “But we’re here today to share this moment and all the sacrifices. It’s really worth it right now.”
In the triple jump, meanwhile, Rojas did her best to electrify a largely empty stadium with a scintillating world record with her last jump of 15.67 m, shattering the previous best of 15.50 m, set 26 years ago by Ukrainian Inessa Kravets. , broke.
“I am lost for words, I cannot describe this feeling and this moment,” said Rojas.
“Gold medalist, with an Olympic record and a world record… Wow. It’s a fantastic night.”
It was the Tokyo athletics program’s first world record.
Chinese Gong wins gold in women’s shot put
Portuguese Patricia Mamona won silver with a national record of 15.01m, while Spaniard Ana Peleteiro jumped 14.87m.
Earlier Sunday, China’s Gong Lijao claimed gold in the women’s shot put after leading the competition from start to finish.
Gong sealed her victory with a personal best of 20.58 meters on her sixth and final attempt after her opening attempt of 19.95 meters.
American Raven Saunders took silver with 19.79m, while New Zealand veteran Valerie Adams, in her fifth Olympics, was delighted when she claimed bronze with 19.62 to take gold in 2008 and 2012 and silver in 2016.
It marked the end of a long journey to gold for 32-year-old Gong, a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver medalist four years later in London.
In the semifinals of the women’s 100m hurdles, Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn set an Olympic record to qualify for Monday’s final with a stunning display of technique and strength.
Camacho-Quinn shot home in 12.26 seconds, breaking Sally Pearson’s previous Olympic record of 12.35 seconds in 2012.
The 24-year-old’s performance suggested that world record holder Keni Harrison may again have to wait for her first major outdoor title.
The American favorite finished second in her heat in 12.51sec, behind Jamaican Britany Anderson (12.40sec).
In the opening rounds of the men’s 400m, Bahamas world champion Stephen Gardiner and American Michael Cherry led a host of contenders to Monday’s semi-final in what promises to be an ultra-competitive race.
In the semifinal 400m hurdles, world champion Karsten Warholm qualified safely for the final along with American rival Rai Benjamin.