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Italy’s gold medalist sprinter shares his secret: reconciling with his father

Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Francisco Veneto - published on 09/01/21

A message received from his father before the race was instrumental in inspiring and motivating Jacobs’ victory.

Italian runner Lamont Marcell Jacobs Jr. made history on Sunday, August 1, by winning the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics and securing the gold medal for his country.

Jacobs is the son of an Italian mother and an American father, after whom he is named. However, the athlete’s mother and father separated when the now Olympic champion was only 5 months old. The mother and son returned from Texas, where Jacobs had been born, to Italy, where he has lived ever since without ever being in contact with his father.

It was only recently that the two began to communicate. A message received from his father before the race was instrumental in inspiring and motivating Jacobs’ victory.

As NBC Olympics reports:

Just Saturday, the day before the 100 final, the son said the father wrote: “You are Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Jr. You can win the Olympic Games. We are with you. We love you. And we support you.” “That,” the son said, “for me, is really important.”

His winning the gold medal, according to the athlete, owes a lot to that relationship.

“About the relationship with my father, it started one year ago when I decided to work with my mental coach. The first thing she told me was that if I wanted to run faster I had to begin a relationship with my father, which I never had. And this was a difficult path for me because practically I had almost never met him, known him or talked to him in many years. And the fact of reconnecting with him gave me the desire, the speed, that something more that helped me be here and win at the Olympics.”

Lamont Marcell Jacobs Jr. surprised the world by beating competitors considered to be favorites. With a new European record of 9.80s, he won gold for Italy in an Olympic Games that is already historic for being the first that had to be postponed due to a global health crisis.

He shared the podium with American Fred Kerley, with 9.84s, and Canadian Andre de Grasse, with 9.89s. China’s Bingtian Su had made the best time in the qualifying heats, but finished sixth, with 9.98s.

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