Marcell Jacobs fastest of all. Not just in Tokyo. If the blue had run the 100-meter final in the five previous Olympics, from Sydney 2000 to Rio 2016, he would have won gold (ideally) on at least four occasions. In one of these – Rio 2016 – he would also beat Usain Bolt in the photo finish.
A Tokyo, Jacobs crossed the finish line of the final in 9 ”80: a time that is worth the Italian and European records. Not the Olympic (9 ”63) and world (9” 58), still in the hands of the Jamaican Bolt. In short, that of the blue is an even more enormous undertaking if we take into account the times marked by the legends who previously won gold on the Olympic track.
The parallel with the champions of the past may appear risky. Years pass, technologies at the service of athletes grow and improve their performance. but yet there are records that stand for decades: the one on 200 flat meters (19 “19), for example, was set by Bolt in Berlin in 2009. On the same distance, the European record (19” 72) has been unbeaten for more than 40 years: he set it in 1980 , at the Moscow Olympics, the Italian Pietro Mennea. In addition, Marcell Jacobs won gold in Tokyo as a “nobody”. Those who preceded him, in most cases, were already established champions.
Sydney 2000 (Jacobs would have won)
At the Australian Olympics, however, the American Maurice Green finished first with 9 ”87. Green had arrived in Sydney with the strength of the World Cup won over the same distance in 1997 in Athens and in 1999 in Seville. On the 100 meters, Green’s best time ever remains 9 ”79, set in Athens in 1999.
Athens 2004 (Jacobs would have won)
In Greece the fastest of all on 100 meters is still an American, Justin Gatlin, who closes the race in 9 ”85. Behind him, a bronze medalist, is the reigning Olympic champion, Green, with a time of 9 ”87. Gatlin, before the Athens Games, won the Indoor 60-meter World Cup in Birmingham in 2003.
Beijing 2008 and London 2012 (Jacobs would have lost)
It’s the Bolt Olympics, the man who can watch photographers as he crosses the finish line at supersonic speed. In China, the Jamaican runs the 100 flat meters in 9 ”69. In London it improves: 9 ”63. the race held in England is among the fastest in recent years, with the second Yohan Blake at 9 ”75 and the timeless Gatlin third at 9” 79.
Rio 2016 (Jacobs would have won)
At 30, Usain Bolt wins his third consecutive gold medal on 100 meters, with a human time, 9 ”81, less inertia than that set by the Italian Jacobs in Tokyo at the age of almost 27.
If Tokyo had been 2020, seriously
Remaining in the wake of the temporal comparison just proposed, it must be said that the data also say more. And that is that Marcell Jacobs, had the Olympics been held in 2020 as scheduled, he probably would not have won. In March of last year, in fact, the blue born in Texas from an Italian father and an American mother occupied the 23rd place in the world ranking in the 100-meter specialty. Before him also the other talent of the Italian race, Filippo Tortu, who was in tenth place. The history of sport, fortunately, is not done with the ‘ifs’.
The Guardian’s dig
On the website of the British newspaper, which commented on another Italian triumph after the European football championship won at Wembley against England, the journalist Barney Roay, while positively underlining Jacobs’ performance, points out that that in Tokyo was a final that barely filled the void left by Usain Bolt.
Roay looked at the list of fastest times ever on the 100 meters and pointed out that none of the participants in the Tokyo 2020 final came close to the best 20 ever. “All the super times were set in a period of time ranging from 2007 to 2015,” wrote the Guardian reporter.
Jacobs after the legends
After Tokyo, the ranking of the fastest men ever on the 100 flat meters needs to be reviewed: Jacobs’s time, 9 ”80, does not come close to those of the legends Bolt, Gay, Blake and Powell, but it is enough to send the blue in the top ten. Jacobs is in fact the fastest 100-meter runner ever among non-US or Jamaican riders.
The New York Times analysis
To the Italian Olympic champion, and more generally to the queen competition of the Tokyo Games, the US newspaper dedicated an interactive special that examines, literally step by step, the sprint for gold. There is the detailed confirmation of the sensation received by watching the race on TV. Jacobs’ reaction time after the start was not the best: 0.161 seconds against the American Kerley’s 0.128 seconds, who finished second.
In the first 25 meters, Jacobs is behind Kerley, then changes everything, with the Italian who is going to get the gold reaching a maximum speed of about 43 km / h.