Huge upset: Unknown Italian stuns world in 100m final after star disqualified

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 7:11AM
Italy's Lamont Jacobs wins the Men's 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium. Photo / Getty
Italy's Lamont Jacobs wins the Men's 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium. Photo / Getty

Huge upset: Unknown Italian stuns world in 100m final after star disqualified

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 7:11AM

This wasn't how the script was supposed to play out in the search for Usain Bolt's replacement.

For the first time since 2004 a name which isn't Bolt's sits on top of the world but not many would have predicted it would be Italian Lamont Marcell Jacobs.

In one of the biggest boilovers in Olympic history, the 26-year-old former long jumper ran 9.80sec to defeat American Fred Kerley (9.84sec) with Canada's Andre de Grasse (9.89sec) relegated to bronze for the second time.

Jacobs wasn't in the conversation leading up to Tokyo about who would be the new sprint king to replace Bolt.

He didn't even make the final at the 2019 world championships and his only previous gold medal came at this year's European indoor championships over 60m.

In keeping with bizarre times there was all sorts of craziness around the men's 100m.

Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes created more drama by breaking and being disqualified from the final which interestingly had no Jamaicans in it.

There were two Americans – but not the favoured one – and runners from Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Italy and China.

The drama started in the semifinals when China's Su Bingtian, 31,blew the field away by clocking an Asian record of 9.83sec, becoming the first Asian man to reach the Olympic 100 metres final for 89 years.

The biggest casualty was pre-Games favourite America's Trayvon Bromell who was sluggish in the heat and struggled again, finishing third in 10.00sec to miss a spot in the final.

Jacobs did put his stake in the ground in the semifinals when he became the first Italian to make the Olympic final after blasting a European record of 9.84sec.

Underlining the bizarre nature of the event without Bolt, Su Bingtian and Jacobs weren't even mentioned in a lengthy preview of the race by the sport's governing body, World Athletics, in the lead-up to Tokyo.

The focus coming in had all been about Bromell after he blitzed the US trials to back up his world-leading 9.77sec in June in Florida, the seventh-fastest time in history.

There was always going to be a transition period in sprinting to fill the enormous hole left by Bolt who won the 100m and 200m titles at the past three Olympic Games.

The world record holder was a shining light through various drug scandals and the jockeying to be his replacement after his retirement in 2017 had been erratic.

No-one seemed to want to put up their hand and only time will tell whether Jacobs is capable of having sustained success or if Tokyo was just a strange aberration.

Text by Scott Gullan, news.com.au