Jacobs keen to repeat emotional Olympic boost for Italy

athletics30 May 2024 03:07| Ā© AFP
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Marcell Jacobs Ā© Gallo Images

Marcell Jacobs insists that there is a glimmer of back-to-back Olympic 100m golds in what he dubbed an "open" season during which he has uprooted his family to base himself in the United States.

But the Italian, a shock victor of the blue riband event at the Covid-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, acknowledges that he has work to do under new coach Rana Reider.

Jacobs finished third in the 100m in Ostrava on Tuesday in 10.19 seconds, far from his European record of 9.80sec when wining Olympic gold, with the next step Oslo's Diamond League on Thursday.

A debut run at Oslo's famed Bislett Stadium "is a really important test for me. I competed (in Ostrava) and it was my worst race ever", said Jacobs, with one initial eye on the June 7-12 European championships in Rome before the July 26-August 11 Paris Olympics.

"I need to compete tommorrow to put all the pieces together and arrive at the European champs in my city ā€“ I live in Rome ā€“ in my country, and I'm the European champion, in the best shape," he said.

"Tomorrow is important to understand how the work has been."

While many pundits have their money on American Noah Lyles, who won treble sprint gold at last year's world championships in Budapest, for victory over 100m in Paris, Jacobs insisted the field was wide open.

"This year is really open, so I have my opportunity to arrive there in my best shape and try to win again," he said.

The victory in Tokyo, Jacobs added, had been a life-changing moment not only for himself, but also the wider Italian population. It was something he wants to try to repeat.

"It was incredible because for Italy no one made a final in the 100m. Then I arrived in the final and I won the race. For Italy it was an incredible moment and for me too, of course," he said.

"And then after six days we won the relay too, so for the Italian people it was incredible.

"When I see people in the street in Italy they say 'Thank you, thank you, for giving me this moment of emotion in my life because I don't know when we can live it again'.

"I say maybe in the next Olympics you can see it again because I want to win another one. But for Italy it was a really great moment."

Jacobs was besieged with a long list of injuries following his surprise success in Tokyo, but rebounded to win the world indoor 60m title in 2022 and European 100m gold in Munich later that year.

"The two years after the Olympics it was really difficult for me," he said.

"We were training every day, all day to compete and win.

"I needed to work a lot, not just with my body, but also with my mental coach."

It reached a stage where things had to change.

"Now we're in an Olympic year," Jacobs said. "I changed my coach, I change everything, I moved from Italy to the United States to try to find the best shape for me.

"So now I'm really ready, I know technically I need to make some adjustments, so I need to compete a lot."