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Reporting from Tokyo
TOKYO — Marcell Jacobs showed the world on Sunday (1 August) that he is the new fastest man in the world, following Usain Bolt's dominance in the men's 100m for the past three Olympics.
The Italian clocked 9.80 seconds at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium to pip Fred Kerley of the United States (9.84sec) to gold. Canada's Andre de Grasse took the bronze in 9.89sec.
Jacobs becomes the first Italian to ever win the Olympic men's 100m race.
"It was my childhood dream to win an Olympics Games, Obviously a dream can turn into something different, but to run this final and win it is a dream come true," said the 26-year-old, who has an Italian mother and an American father.
"Maybe tomorrow I can imagine what they will be saying (back home), but today it is incredible."
Bolt's Olympic record of 9.63sec remains intact for at least until the 2024 Paris Games. His world record of 9.58sec, set in 2009, continues to be untouchable too.
There was major shock in the semi-finals, as pre-race favourite Trayvon Bromell - who recorded a world-best 9.77sec this year - crashed out after clocking only 10.00sec to be placed 10th overall.
The American had been aiming to win gold in Tokyo after enduring a nightmarish run of injuries, starting with a torn Achilles suffered during the 4x100m relay final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Su Bingtian was the surprise fastest qualifier in the semi-finals, as he clocked an Asian record 9.83sec to become the first Asian since 1932 to qualify for the men's 100m final. He eventually clocked 9.98sec in the final to finish sixth.
World record, unique shared gold cap memorable night
Jacobs' win capped off a memorable 20-minute spell in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, as a world record was broken and two high jumpers agreed to share the gold instead of going for a jump-off to decide an outright winner.
Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela kicked off the drama by jumping a world record 15.67m to win the women's triple jump, becoming the first Venezuelan female athlete to win a gold.
She arrived in Tokyo having won the two previous editions of both the world outdoor and indoor titles, and remains the only woman to breach the 15-metre mark this year.
The 25-year-old had said on Friday that she had a real chance to break Ukrainian Inessa Kravets' 1995 world-record mark of 15.50m in Tokyo and she kept her word with a magical leap.
"I was looking for it, I knew we had that distance in my legs to get it today," Rojas said.
A few minutes later, at the high jump competition nearby, Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi agreed to share the gold in the men's high jump with Qatar's world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim.
When Barshim finished level with Tamberi at 2.37 metres, facing a potential jump-off to decide the gold medal, he calmly asked the official: "Can we have two golds?"
The official nodded, both athletes hugged each other and whooped with joy before breaking off into celebratory circuits of the stadium.
Tamberi, who broke his ankle days before the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, hugged everyone he could find on the track. Draped in an Italian flag, he was also the first to embrace his compatriot Jacobs after his 100m win.
"This is a bit of history that will stay with me forever. I will tell my kids, if I have them. I will never sleep again," he said.
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