Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs claimed a shock gold in the Olympic 100m final after Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for a false start.
Jacobs, who only switched away from a long jump in 2018, streaked clear to win in 9.80 seconds, 0.04 clear of American Fred Kerley.
World champion Christian Coleman and Trayvon Bromell, the world’s fastest in 2021, were both absent from the final.
Coleman, banned for whereabouts failures after missing three drugs tests, and Bromell, eliminated in the semi-finals, were joined on the sidelines by the long-retired defending champion Usain Bolt.
Few would have picked Jacobs, who was born in Texas to an American father but moved to his mother’s Italian homeland before his first birthday, as the Jamaican great’s successor.
But the European indoor 60m champion carried the momentum from his fast start all the way to the line to register a time faster than Bolt’s winning mark in Rio.
He was greeted by compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who had won a joint high-jump gold just minutes before and wrapped him in the Italian flag and an embrace.
Hughes will be left to wonder what might have been in a final stripped of its usual stars and big names.
His clear false start brought back memories of defending champion Linford Christie’s disqualification at Atlanta in 1996 and denied him a shot of joining the most prestigious honour roll in athletics.
Hughes, who made the same mistake at last month’s British Championships, said it was the result of a sudden cramp in his calf