A Chinese, an Italian, a Nigerian, a South African, a Canadian … This is how a bad joke could start and thus begins a unique final, the first of the 100 meters of the Olympic Games without Usain Bolt for 17 years. It is an ecumenical hymn. And there are also two Americans and a Briton who, in a display of discretion, leaves the stage, no exit, before starting.
Usain Bolt disappeared from the athletics planet and the single star was replaced by a multitude of small planets, and the world of speed is such a complicated cosmos that even Galileo would not know how to calculate orbits.
It is the triumph of globalization on the miracle track in Tokyo, and an Italian named Marcell Jacobs wins, withering like lightning, dynamite who in two days, in three races, breaks the Italian record three times and the European record twice ( the 9.86s of the Portuguese Francis Obikwelu in 2004 that was equaled by the French Jimmy Vicaut in 2016).
In the semifinals he leaves it in 9.84s, and in the final – street three, ripped from a tremendous bull with his great body, a ball of muscles, at 30m he arrives second, 3.81s, two hundredths more than Fred Kerley, and He is still launched, and unstoppable, and nobody can resist him -, he lowers it to 9.80s, the tenth best world record in history, and two of the great powers are stunned, the North American Fred Kerley, another tremendous physicist, sheer strength, geometric perfection of the angles of his pectorals, biceps, glutes and quadriceps, which has left the 400m and achieves his best mark ever in the 100m (9.84s), and can only be second to a regular visitor to the podiums, the most fluid and lightest of the three, the Canadian Andre de Grasse, already bronze in the times of Usain Bolt, in the Rio 2016 Games, and bronze in the new times, despite also achieving the best mark of his life , 9.89s. And the Chinese, Bingtian Su, who in the semifinals scared everyone with his 9.83s (new Asian record), is sixth with 9.98s. The Nigerian, Enoch Adegoke, 21, breaks his way to the finish line and the South African, Akani Simbine, finishes fourth (9.93s) and the other North American, Ronnie Baker, fifth (9.95s). In the global final there was no room for the great favorite, for the athlete who had been talking all year, the recovered Trayvon Bromell, who arrived in Tokyo with the best mark of the year (9.77s) and was eliminated in the semifinals, in which a Kenyan, Ferdinand Omurwa, beats his country’s record (10.00s) and skims the way to the final.
30 countries had until Sunday, closed night in Tokyo, placed an athlete in a 100-meter final. Neither Chinese nor Italians had ever arrived. And Italy, the first time, arrives and wins. Jacobs, 26, is the first European Olympic champion after Britain’s Linford Christie in Barcelona 92. And he comes from the country that had Pietro Mennea, 200m Olympic champion in Moscow 80, taking advantage of the American boycott, as a great emblem of speed .
“I have put my soul on the track,” says Jacobs, who was born in El Paso (Texas), the son of an Italian mother (Viviana) who, when the child was five years old, left her husband and Texas and settled in northern Italy, in Desenzano, next to Lake Garda. And they say in the Italian press, for anyone who doubts, that he is so Italian that he cannot even speak English, that he only expresses himself in Dante’s language. He will be Italian, and he will be trained by an Italian, Paolo Camossi, but he runs like an American, pure strength. And its evolution has been as supersonic as the fastest 100 meters ever run by a European. Before May 2021, Jacobs’ best mark was 10.03s from July 2019. In 2020, the year of the pandemic stoppage, he did not drop below 10.10s, but in his first race of 2021, in May, At Savona, he broke the Italian record for the first time with 9.94s. And from there, from a mark almost of the heap in the great international world, with three big bites, three records, he reached the Olympic gold. And it all seems like a big soft and bad Italian movie fantasy, without irony.
And it completes it, and makes it exciting, and almost crying with feeling, the great Olympic spirit symbolized in a hug between rivals.
Gianmarco Tamberi, the jumper from Ancona, runs to embrace the Garda bull, his compatriot. And it must be the day of the great hug of all the athletes who are reborn, because before leaving for Jacobs, Tamberi has hugged with Mutaz Barshim. Both have finished first, tied at 2.37m and null (all three over 2.39m). The regulation foresees a tiebreaker or an agreement between the tied ones to share the gold. And this is what the two jumpers do, the 30-year-old Qatari, who broke trying to beat Javier Sotomayor’s world record, 2.45m, and has been a two-time Olympic medalist and two-time world champion, and 29 the Italian, who had not won any great title and has also suffered a serious injury. The two will rise to the podium as Olympic champions, leaving the bronze to Belarusian Maksim Nedasekau, who also jumped 2.37m, but with two more nulls. “Sharing the gold with Marco makes me tremendously excited and very happy,” says Barshim. “I’ve been through so much that I don’t want to abandon this dream. They have had to go through five years of injuries and steps forward and backward to get here ”.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.