When Lamont Marcell Jacobs won gold in the 100-metres final it surprised the world.
By the time his Italian team won the 4x100m sprint relay on Friday night, it was still a surprise but it was no longer a shock.
From left: Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Lorenzo Patta, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu celebrate Italy’s 4×100 relay win gold.Credit:Getty Images
Jacobs declared after the victory that this was the year of Italy: the Olympics, Euro 2021 soccer, and they even won the Eurovision song contest (actually, Jacobs mentioned that victory first).
That they won the relay race with a lunge at the line from Great Britain, that Jamaica was fifth and that the US did not make the final at all, that was the surprise.
But Italians winning again? Not so much, as Italy have now won five Olympic gold medals at the athletics. Jacobs had already won gold in the Olympics’ biggest event in the 100m, while Antonella Palmisano had won the women’s 20km race-walking gold on Friday morning after Massimo Stano claimed the men’s 20km walk on Thursday. And memorably, Gianmarco Tamberi had won gold when he shared victory in the high jump with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim just minutes before Jacobs’ victory.
Tamberi sharing gold, and his joy in celebrating with Barshim before then embracing Jacobs on the track in celebration, almost overshadowed the sprinter’s 100m gold.
Filippo Tortu’s lunge to the line pipped Great Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.Credit:Getty Images
The Italians might have won the sprint relay because they had the world’s quickest man running up the back straight, but they absolutely won because Filippo Tortu ran down Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the home straight and timed his lunge perfectly to steal the gold the Brits would have thought they had secured.
That lunge saw Tortu cross the line 0.01 seconds ahead of Mitchell-Blake.
The Brits were still celebrating – the silver in this event is an outstanding effort – but the song that was ringing out around Tokyo Stadium after the 4×100 m victory was That’s Amore not Rule, Britannia!
While crowds are not allowed,there were still plenty there who thrilled to the Italian effort and sang in the stands afterwards, serenading Tortu, Jacobs, Lorenzo Patta and Eseosa Desalu for their national-record run of 37.50 seconds.
It was Italy’s first gold in the relay and first medal in the event since they won bronze in 1948.
“I would never expect this before leaving [Italy], nobody would have expected that. Thank you Italy,” said Jacobs.
“This is the year of Italy this is our year. We won the Eurovision, we won the football European championships, we won five gold medals [in athletics].”
Added Tortu: “We are four Ferraris.”
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