Few people outside Italy were aware of Marcell Jacobs before he became the Olympic 100-metre champion in Tokyo, following Usain Bolt. Now, three injury-plagued years later, the Italian born in Texas is still a mystery, despite his incredible accomplishments.

The American sprinter Noah Lyles, after his spectacular three-gold medal sweep at the world championships last year, is justifiably in the spotlight ahead of the Paris Games.

Several others have also raced into the reckoning, with 100-metre dashes in under 10 seconds this year.

However, the defending champion, Marcell Jacobs, hasn’t done so in almost two years.

That adds an element of mystery to the 100 metres in Paris.

The most anticipated race of the Olympics features Jacobs as both the favourite and the underdog due to this unusual dynamic.

“I can stay beneath the radar, which is nice. I don’t have to win every event in order to qualify for the Olympics and repeat as champion; I can focus on my preparation and my race without worrying about what other people think of me.” Jacobs is quoted as saying on abcnews.com.

Jacobs surmounts obstacles and joins Florida’s elite training group

In the last two years, the 29-year-old Jacobs has encountered many difficulties despite his obvious talent. Physically troubled, he was unable to make it to the finals last year and had to withdraw from the semi-finals of the 2022 World Championships because of a thigh muscle ailment.

He also withdrew from several other races and spent a night in a hospital due to a gastrointestinal ailment in Kenya.

After suffering a string of setbacks and poor results, Jacobs decided to part company with Paolo Camossi, his longtime coach who had guided him from his long jump days.

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In search of a new beginning, Jacobs moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where coach Rana Reider, a seasoned professional, currently trains him. In this new chapter, Jacobs aspires to achieve amazing success and rekindle his career by joining an elite group of sprinters, including Andre De Grasse, Trayvon Bromell, Jerome Blake, and Abdul Hakim Sani Brown.

 

 

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