Rome – Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who claimed a shock Olympic triumph in the 100-meter sprint, said Friday he decided not to run again until 2022 so he could be in top form next year.
“It’s not a simple decision,” he said in an interview on Rai 1 public television, the day after announcing the pause on social media.
“I am the first to want to compete every week, but you get to a certain point in which you realize that it does not end here, in the sense that this is only a great starting point,” Jacobs said.
Almost unknown a year ago, the 26-year-old claimed a shock triumph in the 100 at the Tokyo Olympics as well as gold in the 4×100-meter relay.
His stunning victory was achieved in a European record of 9.80 seconds.
The Texas-born sprinter had been scheduled to run on Aug. 21 at the Eugene Diamond League meet in the United States, before appearing in Brussels and Zurich in early September.
“Next year there are some very important events,” including the European and world championships, he said, and “every time I race I want to raise the bar.”
More work was needed, he said, and “for next year I want to arrive the top of the top, confirm (my results), actually improve on what I achieved this year.”
Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera said on Thursday that Jacobs had called a halt after a fall blamed on “the accumulated fatigue of the Olympics as well as a knee problem.”
Eyebrows have been raised in some quarters about Jacobs’ performance, as before 2020, his times in the 100 had never gone below 10 seconds.
Britain’s The Times ran a story last weekend about how Jacobs’ former sports nutritionist was caught up in an Italian police investigation into the alleged illegal distribution of anabolic steroids.
Jacobs said Friday that insinuations of doping “haven’t touched me because I know all the sacrifices and setbacks I took to get to this moment, and I want to enjoy it 100%.”
He was also asked about the suspension of British sprinter CJ Ujah — who won an Olympic silver medal in the 4×100 relay in Tokyo — over an alleged anti-doping breach.
“It makes me smile a little,” he added.
“Because a week ago they said so many things about me that were not true, and they have the relay runner with a positive result in their own backyard.”
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