Marcell Jacobs’ stunning victory in the 100 metres at the European Championships in Rome on Saturday (June 8) night cheered the home audience despite early failures.

The Olympic champion convincingly defended his title and ultimately ran to victory with a quick 10.02 (0.7). Romell Glave grabbed Great Britain’s second medal, bagging the bronze with a 10.06 finish, while Italy’s glory was preserved by Jacobs holding off fellow countryman Chituru Ali (10.05), who finished second.

The top three competitors, who had been the fastest trio coming into the tournament, turned in an exciting show of athleticism and held their places. Though injuries have caused him some difficulties in the last few years, Jacobs is now getting better, dropping times and reclaiming his track supremacy.

“The time is irrelevant. The medal is what matters.” he was quoted as saying in a recent interview.

The victory was genuinely remarkable, not only because it took place in the iconic Olympic Stadium, which despite its small capacity, pulsates with enthusiasm, but also because of the personal struggles that have followed him since his historic victory as the first Italian to win the Olympic 100-metre gold.

Managing disagreement: Jacobs’ journey

Despite early doubts about his quick rise, Jacobs broke the 10-second barrier and smashed the European record with a stunning 9.80.

His relationship with nutritionist Giacomo Spazzini, who was connected to a steroid distribution probe but was eventually exonerated in court and had his doping ban overturned on appeal, raised concerns. Jacobs did not face any accusations.

But his recent alignment with coach Rana Reider, who served probation for a “consensual romantic relationship with an adult athlete”, aroused eyebrows once again.

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Jacobs seems to have settled into his groove while surrounded by elite athletes like American sprinter Trayvon Bromell and Olympic 200-metre winner Andre de Grasse.

Even though his semi-final was ruined by an early start and a delayed recall gun, Jacobs remained calm and confidently won on Saturday night. The drama was heightened by the rescheduling of the interrupted heat, but Jacobs’ victory stood out as an example of his ability and tenacity.

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