TOKYO: Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs outshone a field of unusual suspects to claim a shock Olympic gold in the men’s 100 meters yesterday, breaking retired Jamaican star Usain Bolt’s 13-year hold on the blue-riband event. Meanwhile, Caeleb Dressel powered to his fifth swimming gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics as the United States won their duel in the pool with Australia, while Xander Schauffele claimed golf gold. In Tennis, Germany’s Alexander Zverev won gold after beating Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the men’s final.
Jacobs, 26, timed a European record of 9.80 seconds, with American Fred Kerley taking silver in 9.84sec in one of the most understated major championship 100m races of recent times. Canada’s Andre de Grasse, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, repeated the feat in 9.89sec in Tokyo. “It’s a dream, it is fantastic. Maybe tomorrow I can imagine what they are saying, but today it is incredible,” said Texas-born Jacobs, who until 2020 had never gone below the 10sec barrier. It was my childhood dream to win an Olympic Games and obviously a dream can turn into something different, but to run this final and win it is a dream come true.”
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi shared a rare Olympic athletics gold in the high jump. Barshim gave Qatar its first Olympic track and field title, and Tamberi recorded a best clearance of 2.37 meters. Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus also cleared that height to set a national record. He though missed out on a share of the gold because of an earlier failure. The jubilant duo declined the chance of winning the title outright by turning down a jump-off. Also yesterday, China’s Gong Lijiao lived up to her pre-Olympic form by winning gold in the women’s shot put, denying New Zealand veteran Valerie Adams a third successive gold.
Dressel dominated the men’s 50m freestyle final, setting a new Olympic record of 21.07sec, and then returned to help his team smash the world mark in the men’s 4x100m medley relay. The other undoubted star of the pool was Emma McKeon, who finished with four golds to become the first woman to win seven swimming medals at a single Games.
McKeon provided a golden finish when she helped Australia to the women’s 4x100m medley relay crown, less than 40 minutes after winning the 50m freestyle. US swimmer Robert Finke touched first in the men’s 1500m freestyle to make it a distance double after winning the 800m earlier in the meeting. The United States ended with 11 golds in the pool, two ahead of fierce rivals Australia, whose nine golds marked their best-ever showing.
Dressel, 24, didn’t get close to matching Michael Phelps’ eight-gold haul at Beijing 2008 but he joins just four other swimmers with at least five wins at a single Games. “I’m proud of myself,” said the American, who also won two relay golds at the 2016 Rio Games. “I think I reached what my potential was here at these Games.
McKeon, 27, became just the second woman to win seven medals at one Olympics in any sport, after Ukrainian gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya in 1952, and is now Australia’s most successful Olympian, with five gold medals and 11 overall. “I look at the athletes that have gone before me and have been so impressed and inspired by what they’ve done but I’ve never been into the stats and medal counts,” she said. “But to be in that kind of company, it’s an honor and I know I’ve worked hard for it.”
US golf star Schauffele held his nerve at the Kasumigaseki Country Club to see off Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini by one shot. The American world number five finished on 18-under par 266 after carding a 67 while veteran Sabbatini shot a stunning, course-record 10-under-par 61. Behind them, there was a seven-man playoff for bronze.
US gymnastics great Simone Biles, struggling with a debilitating mental block, withdrew from the floor final, leaving her with just one more chance of competing in Tokyo. With Biles taking a back seat due to mental health issues, freshly crowned all-around champion Sunisa Lee goes for uneven bars gold as the apparatus finals begin. Britain’s Charlotte Worthington won the first BMX freestyle gold in Olympic history, while Australia’s Martin Logan took the men’s title. – AFP