Italy hails Olympic track and field heroes

Italy saluted its 'Gods of Olympus' Monday after sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs won a shock victory in the Olympic 100 metres and high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi also took gold.

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs celebrates after winning the men's 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. Picture: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

ROME - Italy saluted its "Gods of Olympus" Monday after sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs won a shock victory in the Olympic 100 metres and high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi also took gold.

"No one faster, never so high," read the headline of Il Messaggero daily Monday, under the beaming faces of Jacobs and Tamberi.

All of Italy's newspapers celebrated the historic victories, with La Stampa citing "The Gods of Olympus."

With a European record of 9.80 seconds, the Texas-born Jacobs - a relative unknown who had never broken 10 seconds before this year - followed in the swift footsteps of retired Usain Bolt as champion of the blue riband event of the Olympic athletics programme on Sunday.

Tamberi clinched a rare shared gold with Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, after both recorded a best clearance of 2.37 metres.

After Jacobs' win, the two Italians shared a joyous bear hug, an image played repeatedly on television Monday.

The dual victories cap a triumphant summer of sport for Italy, fresh from its European Championship football title last month.

The victory for the Azzurri over England was celebrated in Italy as a fresh start for a country pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini applauded the Olympic winners Sunday, writing on Twitter that "History is you. All the medals of these Olympic Games are fantastic. Go Italy."

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