British hopeful Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start in the 100m final at the Tokyo Olympics with little known Italian Marcell Jacobs claiming gold as the showpiece event lacked a household name
Italy’s Marcell Jacobs wins gold in 100m final
There was a ghost lane in the mens 100 metres final that should have been occupied by Zharnel Hughes.
But it seemed symbolic. Courtesy of his false start, Hughes was missing from what has always been THE showpiece event of the Olympic Games but also missing was a certain Usain Bolt.
The world has long, long known there would be no Bolt at Tokyo 2020. After all, he retired from sprinting in 2017.
But when the athletes took their marks, Bolt’s absence somehow seemed all the more stark.
With respect to the outstanding Marcell Jacobs, this was the Google final.
“I really didn’t know anything about him,” American silver medallist Fred Kerley said of the winner.
You were not alone, Fred. People did not know whether to call him Marcell, Lamont or both.
And to be fair, it is not as though Fred Kerley is a household name, either.
That is the problem. In mens’ sprinting right now, the household names are either retired or tainted.
No Bolt, no Christian Coleman, serving a ban for missing three drugs tests.
And with the fastest man in the world this year, Trayvon Bomell, eliminated in the semi-finals, this was a blue riband event minus the customary stardust.
But do not let that take anything away from the achievement of Jacobs.
This is a guy who only broke the 10-second barrier for the first time in May of this year.
This is a guy who only switched from the long jump in 2018.
When you produce your lifetime’s best and a European record when it matters most – in the cloying pressure of an Olympic final – then you deserve your place in history, alongside Bolt.
And whether it is Lamont, Marcell or both, the world now knows your name.