Following a decade of Usain Bolt’s dominance in the men’s sprint events, the Tokyo Olympics finally saw a new 100m getting crowned. In Bolt’s absence, Italy’s Marcell Jacobs clinched the 100m title. The Jamaican is all praise for the new Olympic champions for stepping up when it mattered the most.
The first Olympic 100m final since Usain Bolt’s departure was a lacklustre affair, with Marcell Jacobs clocking 9.80sec at Tokyo to secure the elusive gold medal. The great showman feels that he could have pocketed the medal had he featured in the final. During his time in the middle, Bolt won a whopping eight Olympic gold medals.
“My coach said something to me at the end of my career. He said, ‘People are not getting faster. I was getting slower.’ I never looked at it that way,” Bolt told AFP. “And it’s the facts because a lot of guys don’t really get faster. Because I have pushed the barrier so far and then I started going backwards time-wise, so for me 9.80 was possible to get done.”
Will the world witness Usain Bolt take on Marcell Jacobs?
Having said so, Usain Bolt hailed Marcell Jacobs for stepping up on the big stage. The 11 time World Champion admits that he was “surprised” to see Jacobs take the pole position. But Bolt adds that it is all about holding the nerves when it comes to competing on the big stage.
“For me, it was a surprise,” Bolt said. “Because I’d seen all the US athletes and everybody else, I was like, ‘maybe the US athletes will win’, but he showed up and he proved himself to be one of the best, and that’s what it’s all about. When you get onto the big stage, you have to prove yourself that the hard work that you put in and the focus that you have on the game. So my hat’s off to him.”
The Italian, who is the first from his nation to win the elusive gold medal, is overwhelmed by Bolt’s words of praise. Jacobs held the legendary Olympian as his “idol” but adds that he is up for a challenge to see if Bolt can really walk the talk. Jacobs went on to challenge the Jamaican for a charity team sprinting contest.
“You are my hero, so thanks for the hat’s off!” said Jacobs. “But you also said you’re sure you’d win, so I’m up for the challenge! How about starting with a charity capture the flag? You bring your team and I’ll bring mine!“
Capture the flag, or “rubabandiera” as it is known in Italy, is a game played by children. The game involves two teams racing to capture the other team’s flag, located at the team’s “base”, and bring it safely back to their own base. It will be interesting to see how Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, reacts to the challenge.