Olympic Men’s 100 — Shockers Lead The Way

C’mon admit it: you know you didn’t pick Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Fred Kerley for a 1–2 in the 100! (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE ANSWER IS Lamont Marcell Jacobs, a 26-year-old Italian born in El Paso. The burning question was who would succeed Usain Bolt as 100-meter champion after “The Legend” and his Jamaican lightning ozone departed the arena?

It was not to be formchart favorite Trayvon Bromell, who relegated himself to a mere time qualifier from the heats (10.05) to the semis and placed a non-advancing 3rd (10.00, equal-fastest non-qualifier ever) in his semi behind Euro champ Zharnel Hughes and Nigerian Enoch Adegoke, neither of whom would finish the final.

Meanwhile, Jacobs marched from No. 5 on the chart through a pair of Italian Records in the rounds to a blitz-finishing 9.80 gold dash ahead of PRs from American Fred Kerley (9.84) and Canadian Andre De Grasse (9.89).

Jacobs, with height/weight stats listed as 6-½ (1.84) and 161 (73) — though surely he carries more on his powerful frame than the latter figure — started in lane 3 and trailed early leaders Kerley (lane 5) and Ronnie Baker (7) before moving even with formchart No. 2 Baker just before 50m.

Now Jacobs was rolling like a wave and — with an empty lane between him and Kerley since Hughes had false-started on the first attempted getaway — surged narrowly ahead around 60.

By 80m the dash was Jacobs’ to lose and he rushed across the line a foot-plus ahead of Kerley before running full of jubilation into the waiting arms of compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who had claimed high jump gold just minutes before.

De Grasse, having started poorly in lane 9, ate ground late, passing Baker some 15m out to regain the bronze spot he earned in Rio.

Chinese veteran Bingtian Su (6) sprinted well in the mix most of the way but gave up ground over the last 20m as Akani Simbine (2) closed with a flourish to pip Baker for 4th. That matched the South African’s placing at the Worlds 2 years ago and went one better than his Rio 5th.

Bromell’s semis slayer, Adegoke, pulled up injured at 50m and did not finish.

High tech analytical data flows fast and informative nowadays and showed Jacobs to have bested the field on peak velocity. He cranked up to 26.9mph (43.3 kph) around 85m. De Grasse’s top end was next best, about 26.5mph (42.7kph) just past 70m.

In ’08 when Bolt won his first 100 gold, “I was on the beach and watched the Olympics on TV,” Jacobs remembered. “Back then I wasn’t really a professional athlete, but I was already competing because I like running. I think I could recall each and every Usain Bolt race because I watched them all. I watched him on TV and it’s unbelievable. I’m here today where he was before.”

Earlier in his career Jacobs —whose 9.80 finish pushed him up to No. 10 on the all-time list — had his cap set for long jump heroics, hitting a best of 26-5¾ (8.07) indoors in ’18.

“When you’re a child, you dream about winning a gold medal,” he said. “And when I started doing athletics, my dream was to win the Olympic Games. I was doing jumping back then and my dream up to two years ago was to win in the long jump, and then I had a few accidents and thought, ‘OK, this can be a little bit more difficult than I thought.’

“Of course, you never give up on your dream. You can dream anything you like and when you start fulfilling your dreams, when you start reaching your goals, it gives you that unbelievable feeling.”

Italy’s first Olympic 100 champ, Jacobs also became the first European to mine century gold since Linford Christie in ’92 and the first Italian sprint winner since Pietro Mennea triumphed in the ’80 half-lapper.

Born of an Italian mother, Viviana Masini, to an American soldier father — dad is Lamont Marcell Jacobs Sr. — he credited reestablishing a severed father–son relationship with driving his rise from a 10.03 dashman who reached the semis in Doha to the Olympic podium top.

“That relationship became a lot stronger when I started working with my mental coach a year later and she told me the thing I needed to do to improve my performance was to actually establish some kind of relationship with my father,” he said. “I’d never had that.

“For me, it was a problem. I’d never really gotten to know my father and over the years we had grown apart. We hadn’t talked for quite some time. So we got closer again and that gave me the energy and also the will to do everything I could to be here today.”

Kerley’s journey from World Champs 400 bronze medalist in ’19 to 100 silver at the Games is fantastic in its own right. The 26-year-old Texas A&M alum has by no means forsaken the lap race.

“Coming from the 400m, and then coming from my main event to not my event and coming away with the silver medal at the biggest stage of my career, I’m blessed with it,” he said.

Stay tuned to learn which event he points at for the Worlds in Eugene next year.

USC alum De Grasse pronounced himself “really happy with the personal best.” He, too, has come through adversity since Rio, where he was also the 200’s silver medalist.

“I’m really just grateful,” said the Florida-based Canadian. “I’m blessed. I worked really hard to come back from my injuries. I never gave up on myself. I’ve got to thank my family, my support system for just pushing me all the way. There were times when I wanted to give up after getting injured. They just kept pushing me and said, ‘You’re not done yet. You’ve still got a long way to go. You’re young.’”

If the results of this dash, feel out of the blue to you, you are not alone.

“I’m surprised a little bit by the time,” De Grasse concluded. “It’s crazy when everyone runs so fast. 9.80 from the Italian guy, I didn’t expect that.

“I thought my main competition would have been the Americans, but definitely he came to play. He executed. He did his thing so congrats to him.”


(August 01; wind +0.1) (temperature 82F/28C; humidity 78%)

1. Lamont Marcell Jacobs (Ita) 9.80 NR (10, x W);

2. Fred Kerley (US) 9.84 PR (=14, x W; 7, x A);

3. Andre De Grasse (Can) 9.89 PR;

4. Akani Simbine (SA) 9.93;

5. Ronnie Baker (US) 9.95;

6. Bingtian Su (Chn) 9.98;

… dnf—Enoch Adegoke (Ngr);

… fs—Zharnel Hughes (GB).

(lanes: 2. Simbine; 3. Jacobs; 4. Hughes; 5. Kerley; 6. Su; 7. Baker; 8. Adegoke; 9. De Grasse)

(reaction times: Kerley 0.128, Simbine 0.141, Baker 0.148, De Grasse 0.155, Adegoke 0.157, Jacobs 0.161, Su 0.167)


I(-0.2)–1. Ngoni Makusha (Zim) 10.32; 2. Fabrice Dabla Kokoutse (Tog) 10.57; 3. Yeykell Romero (Nic) 10.62; 4. Hassan Saaid (MDV) 10.70; 5. Shaun Gill (Blz) 10.88; 6. Sokong Pen (Cam) 11.02; 7. Sha Mahmood Noor Zahi (Afg) 11.04 PR; 8. Lataisi Mwea (Kyr) 11.25 PR; 9. Nathan Crumpton (AmS) 11.27 PR.

II(0.0)–1. Barakat Al-Harthi (Oma) 10.27; 2. Emanuel Archibald (Guy) 10.30; 3. Mohamed Al Hammadi (UAE) 10.59 PR; 4. Ratu Banuve Tabakaucoro (Fij) 10.59; 5. Bruno Artur Rojas (Bol) 10.64; 6. Didier Kiki (Ben) 10.69 PR; 7. Saguirou Badamassi (Nig) 10.87 PR; 8. Ronald Fotofili (TGA) 11.19;… fs—Aveni Miguel (Ang).

III(0.9)–1. Dorian Rostan Keletela (Con) 10.33 PR; 2. Guy Maganga Gorra (Gab) 10.61; 3. Olivier Mwimba (Con) 10.63; 4. Ildar Akhmadiyev (Tjk) 10.66 PR; 5. Jonah Harris (NRU) 11.01; 6. James Fiti Scott (Mic) 11.25; 7. Seco Camara (GBi) 11.33 PR; 8. Adrian Justin Jimena Ililau (Pau) 11.42 PR; 9. Karalo Hepoiteloto Maibuca (Tuv) 11.42 NR.

HEATS (July 31)

I(0.2)–1. Baker 10.03; 2. Jimmy Vicaut (Fra) 10.07; 3. Usheoritse Itsekiri (Ngr) 10.15; 4. Zhiqiang Wu (Chn) 10.18; 5. Chun-Han Yang (Tai) 10.21; 6. Shuhei Tada (Jpn) 10.22; 7. Emre Zafer Barnes (Tur) 10.47; 8. Gorra 10.77.

II(0.3)–1. Adegoke 9.98 PR; 2. Femi Ogunode (Qat) 10.02; 3. Hughes 10.04; 4. Trayvon Bromell (US) 10.05; 5. Felipe dos Santos (Bra) 10.26; 6. Silvan Wicki (Swi) 10.28; 7. Samson Colebrooke (Bah) 10.33; 8. Keletela 10.41; 9. Archibald 10.41.

III(0.1)–1. Jacobs 9.94 NR; 2. Oblique Seville (Jam) 10.04 =PR; 3. Shaun Maswanganyi (SA) 10.12; 4. Ryota Yamagata (Jpn) 10.15; 5. Zhenye Xie (Chn) 10.16; 6. Mudiyanselage Abeykoon (SrL) 10.32; 7. Carlos Nascimento (Por) 10.37; 8. Gavin Smellie (Can) 10.44; 9. Mwimba 10.97.

IV(0.0)–1. Gift Leotlela (SA) 10.04; 2. Su 10.05; 3. Jason Rogers (StK) 10.21; 4. Yuki Koike (Jpn) 10.22; 5. Lalu Muhammad Zohri (Ina) 10.26; 6. Ebrahima Camara (Gam) 10.33; 7. Kemar Hyman (Cay) 10.41; 8. Tabakaucoro 10.70.

V(0.6)–1. De Grasse 9.91; 2. Kerley 9.97; 3. Ferdinand Omurwa (Ken) 10.01 =NR; 4. Filippo Tortu (Ita) 10.10; 5. Reece Prescod (GB) 10.12; 6. Jak Ali Harvey (Tur) 10.25; 7. Al-Harthi 10.31; 8. Al Hammadi 10.64;… fs—Divine Oduduru (Ngr).

VI(-0.4)–1. Simbine 10.08; 2. Arthur Gue Cissé (CI) 10.15; 3. Paulo André de Oliveira (Bra) 10.17; 4. Hassan Taftian (Irn) 10.19; 5. Emmanuel Matadi (Lbr) 10.25; 6. Cejhae Greene (Ant) 10.25; 7. Makusha 10.43; 8. Bismark Boateng (Can) 10.47;… fs—Kokoutse (Tog).

VII(0.8)–1. Rohan Browning (Aus) 10.01 PR; 2. Yohan Blake (Jam) 10.06; 3. CJ Ujah (GB) 10.08; 4. Benjamin Azamati (Gha) 10.13; 5. Kojo Musah (Den) 10.20; 6. Rodrigo do Nascimento (Bra) 10.24; 7. Ján Volko (Svk) 10.40; 8. Romero 10.70; 9. Mario Burke (Bar) 15.81.

SEMIS (August 01)

I(-0.1)–1. Kerley 9.96; 2. De Grasse 9.98; 3. Omurwa 10.00 (9.992) NR (=fastest-ever non-qualifier); 4. Leotlela 10.03; 5. Vicaut 10.11; 6. Blake 10.14; 7. Itsekiri 10.29;… fs—Prescod.

II(-0.2)–1. Hughes 9.98; 2. Adegoke 10.00 (9.995); 3. Bromell 10.00 (9.996) (=fastest-ever non-qualifier); 4. Seville 10.09; 5. Browning 10.09; 6. Maswanganyi 10.10; 7. Tortu 10.16; 8. Ogunode 10.17.

III(0.9)–1. Su 9.83 (9.827) NR (11, x W); 2. Baker 9.83 (9.829) PR (=11, x W; 6, x A); 3. Jacobs 9.84 NR (=13, x W); 4. Simbine 9.90; 5. Ujah 10.11; 6. Rogers 10.12; 7. Cissé 10.18; 8. de Oliveira 10.31. ◻︎

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