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The post-Usain Bolt era in the men's 100 meters at the Olympics begins with an Italian winning gold? In one of the biggest surprises of the Tokyo Olympics, Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs won the men's 100-meter final in a personal best and European record of 9.80.
“It was my childhood dream to win an Olympics Games and obviously a dream can turn into something different, but to run this final and win it is a dream come true," Jacobs said.
Fred Kerley, a 2019 world championship silver medalist in the 400 meters who decided to drop down in distance in 2021, won silver in a personal best of 9.84 for the United States. Canada's Andre De Grasse took bronze in 9.89.
Sunday's Olympic final was the first one not featuring Usain Bolt since 2004. It was also the first time since 2000 that no Jamaican sprinter reached the Olympic final. Instead, history was made as it was the first time ever an Italian man has won gold in the men's 100 meters.
Jacobs's victory came as a major surprise as his personal best was 10.03 coming into 2021.
Jacobs was born in El Paso, Texas and moved to Italy as a child. He took up track and field at 10 years old and competed in the long jump for a few years while also sprinting the 100 and 200 meters. His only global championship experience coming into Sunday's competition was a semifinals appearance in the 100 meters at the 2019 world championships. He did not break 10 seconds until running 9.95 in May.
Immediately upon crossing the finish line, Jacobs hugged his Italian teammate Gianmarco Tamberi, who won gold in the men's high jump after Qatar's Mutaz Barshim agreed to share the gold medal since both men had not missed a jump until they got to 2.39 meters.
The U.S. Olympic Trials champion Trayvon Bromell, who owned the fastest time of the year with a 9.77 personal best, failed to make it to the finals after running 10.00 for a fourth-place finish in his respective semifinal heat. At 26 years old, this ends a five-year comeback for Bromell after he underwent two surgeries on his Achilles and faced multiple injury setbacks since making the 2016 Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro.
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