Who is Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, 100-Meter Dash Champion?
Before Sunday, an Italian had never won an Olympic medal in the 100 meters in his 125-year history of the game. Today, Lamont Marcell Jacobs is the first Italian to hold the title of the fastest man in the world.
Jacobs set a European record in the men’s 100 meters on Sunday, finishing in 9.80 seconds, to win the gold medal.
Jacobs, a 26-year-old sprinter and long jumper, was born in El Paso to an Italian mother and an African-American father. When his father, a US Army soldier, transferred to South Korea, he and his mother moved to Italy.
His parents separated when he was a baby, but Jacobs reconnected with his father for the first time a year ago, according to the Associated Press. After his 100-meter victory on Sunday, he said reuniting with his father was part of his mental preparation for the Games.
“I never saw my dad from that point on,” Jacobs said. “But I started talking to him a year ago for the first time. It helped me to come here with a good mentality.
Jacobs, whose Instagram ID is @crazylongjumper, a nickname he inked on his body, along with the names of his three children and his partner, started athletics at the age of 9 , revolving around the sprint and the long jump, according to the Tokyo Olympics website.
He made his first impression at the national level by participating in the long jump. In 2016, he won the Italian long jump athletics championships with a distance of 7.89 meters.
In 2018, he won his first 100-meter title and started to get closer to the tough 10-second barrier of the event. And in May 2021, he set the Italian 100-meter record with a time of 9.95 seconds and became the 150th person in history to complete the race in under 10 seconds.
With the Italian record set, Jacobs set his sights on the Olympics. From the first time he stepped onto the track, he told Corriere Della Sera, he dreamed of becoming an Olympian.
“On my bedroom wall I had the newspaper page of Carl Lewis’s famous ad with him wearing stilettos in the starting blocks,” he said. “But my idol as a kid was Andrew Howe who, like me, is mixed race and half American. I could relate to him.
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