"It's incredible!" exclaims Italian mother of Jacobs, the world's new fastest man

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Until Sunday (August 1), Italian athlete Lamont Marcell Jacobs was not well known in his own country let alone the rest of the world.

But after a stunning victory in the Olympic men’s 100 metres final in Tokyo he suddenly became the fastest man on Earth – taking the most coveted title in athletics and becoming the first champion in the post-Usain Bolt era – and doing it in a European record time of 9.80 seconds.

Jacobs grew up in a small, quiet northern Italian town by Lake Garda, one of the country’s picturesque holiday destinations.

He was born in the United States to an Italian mother and a U.S. serviceman father, was brought up by his mother after his parents separated when he was a baby. He was a long-jumper before concentrating on sprinting following an injury.

His mother owns Hotel Florence in the little town of Manerba sul Garda, where his family and friends who couldn’t go to Tokyo due to coronavirus restrictions gathered to watch the race and were ecstatically celebrating as he crossed the finish line.

Viviana Masini was bursting with pride as she spoke to Reuters at her hotel.

“It’s incredible!” she exclaimed.

Masini explained that she also loved running as a child, and when Jacobs used to watch the Olympics on television as a kid he would tell her: “I will be there mum!”. She told him that he would, and now he’s the world’s fastest man.

At the hotel, she proudly shows off his old running shoes which are on display on a shelving unit among pictures of him as a child and various awards.

Masini said that they struggled to get sponsorship because Jacobs, who is mixed race, is “an Italian guy that doesn’t look Italian”. But after the shock win she was sure his life would change.

“Now people must understand how strong he is, so he deserves now to get the money that he deserves, the funding he deserves, all the life changes in such a way,” she said.

It has been a good year for Italy – they won the Eurovision song contest, the soccer European championship, made the Wimbledon men’s final and now proudly have the world’s fastest man to add to their list.

“This for me was the Italian year just from the football and from the music we lost Wimbledon but it is an Italian year,” said Jacobs’ 19 year-old brother Nicolo Secco.

Jacobs had fired a warning with a European record of 9.84 in the semis to become the first Italian to make the final. But even in the most open-looking showdown for decades, the man who had never gone under 10 seconds until this year still seemed a long shot to be the first European winner since Briton Linford Christie in 1992.

In the absence of Bolt, who retired in 2017 after a hat-trick of titles, it was always going to be an open race, but it became all the more so after world champion Christian Coleman was banned for an anti-doping violation and American Trayvon Bromell, the world lead and pre-race favourite, failed to make the final.

With former world champion Yohan Blake also falling at the semi-final stage, it was the first time since 2000 that no Jamaican had been on the start line — 24 hours after the country had a completed clean sweep in the women’s event.

No Italian had ever reached the Olympic 100 metres final but the country has had two champions in the 200 metres: the late Pietro Mennea, who won gold in Moscow in 1980, and Livio Berruti who won in Rome in 1960.
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Comments

Pablo Santos says:

the mother expressed herself in a weird manner, her English has limits, italians are not racist, any track and field athlete don't get sponsors, soccer players do, that is why they become police officer, so the country become their sponsor, and their job is not catching criminal, but being athletes with a salary. Of course, now with a medal, sponsors will come too.

Leo Siyala says:

This mother is lucky to have this boy bless him champion of the world

francesco_jsb says:

@
Newzee I have to congratulate you, some of the news you reported, I had not heard here in Italy.

francesco_jsb says:

The mother speaks more fluent English than her son

OLOO OTIENO says:

African Pride

Orio Guerrini says:

🎸🤟💯❤🇮🇹👏💋

mhyoung357 says:

Sad that he couldn't find a Sponsor because he did not "look Italian." Now, they can eat his dust!

Fabio Sangiorgi says:

Great video. Cool mate. Cheers

Jo Go says:

Very few sprinters at this level of athletics are steroid free. We all know that and I for one don't care because it still takes natural talent and ability as well as sacrifice to run amazing times. Yohan Blake and Bromell were not in the men's100m finals because their pre Olympic urine results probably came back positive for banned substances. Why embarrass your country by getting in the finals and being tested by the IOC and found to be positive? Yet this unknown Italian man wins the men's 100m and goes under 10 seconds to beat Kerley and Degrass?! Where was he in the indoor circuit? Outdoor Europen circuit? Where can we see his racing progress? Where can we see his long jumping foot speed? You don't suddenly run 9.80 in one year! It takes years to shave a few seconds off your time. If he is not found positive at the Olympics, he will be somewhere else. He'll go down like Ben Johnson or Marion Jones.

John Capo says:

most runners who broke the 10 secs mark normally
have a track record do it for years,
way back to their teenage years you start seeing hints of it

Maria Gentles says:

Btw….how does he not look Italian and look just like his Italian mother? You can't have it both ways.

Maria Gentles says:

Italy is a country, not a race. He is a black man who has an Italian mother and a melanated father.

Arka 2 says:

Italian that does not look like Italian – what a pathetic racist video title

Perry Hughes says:

Well… business will be booming at the resort. Love a happy ending.

Dan Downing says:

Is that King Leonidis of Sparta celebrating?

Doug Wallace says:

Thanks for posting. We know literally nothing about this guy in the USA. Great story. Congrats Jacob, Congrats Italy!!!! I'm American who simply loves the true spirit of the Olympics, it doesn't matter if an American wins or not…..

P.S. Had to play the part of the family and friends watching and reacting about 15 times. So much fun to watch every individual face react to the victory, so much fun to watch!!!! P.S. His mother is beautiful. And to his mother, don't worry, if he signs with Nike, Nike will eat the mixed raced thing up, they know how to promote this mix race thing…… (Sorry for straying away from the moment and being a "Money Minded American" LOL!!!)

PL4stik1991 says:

He looks exactly like his mother. Both beautiful!

Li Lise says:

He looks a lot like his mum. His father is African American.

Mr says:

He's Black that's why they did not want to sponsor him. Italians still racist.

Eddie Giorgio says:

Forza Marcell🇮🇹Forza Italia..sempre di cuore🇦🇺

Emily Davis says:

His mother is so beautiful

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