Jacobs relishing homecoming at European Athletics Championships

Marcell celebrates European 100m gold at Munich 2022

By Ben Hart

Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs has vowed to feed off a golden homecoming and ‘change pressure to energy’ at the European Athletics Championships in Italy.

Jacobs has a target on his back as the reigning Olympic and European 100m champion, despite failing to run below 10 seconds since clinching gold in this event two years ago.

But the 29-year-old is confident he is trending back in the right direction after shaving his season’s best to 10.03 in his last run before this week’s championships.

“It’s important for us competing in our home,” said Texas-born Jacobs.

“Rome is my city, it is here where I started to believe in Olympic medals and where I built my Olympic medals.

“I want to give back something this weekend for the people and for Italy too. For me, it is a really important race.

“I want to run with a smile and change pressure to energy. I feel pressure here as the Olympic champion competing at home, that’s normal. But I need to convert that to energy and try to run fast.”

Time will tell if Jacobs has rediscovered a winning formula after his surprise decision to split with longtime coach Paolo Camossi at the end of 2023, moving instead to train with Rana Reider’s group in Jacksonville, Florida.

But his hopes of emerging victorious in Saturday’s 100m final have been bolstered in recent days following the withdrawals of GB pair Zharnel Hughes and Jeremiah Azu, the silver and bronze medallists behind Jacobs in the 2022 event.

“Last time I was below 10 seconds was at the last European Championships in Munich and the subsequent year was complicated,” explained Jacobs.

“I had to open my eyes to different things and that year taught me a lot. I learned I had to change a few things and start from scratch.

“I have changed everything – changed coach, changed my country for training, and times are getting better but I need to work a lot.

“When you change everything in your training, it is difficult to put it all together in your first race.”

Jacobs has the happy knack of delivering when the pressure is on but managing the expectations of home support offers a new and unique challenge.

But the Stadio Olimpico is ready to roar Jacobs on to another memorable triumph, one he hopes can kickstart a potentially golden summer.

“This year I am confident in my chances,” he added.

“With my coach, we had to think about my situation during the Olympics and we are working a lot on the technical side.

“Before the start, I still think a lot and that’s why I still make mistakes, I have not yet found the right pace – but only by competing do you put the pieces together.

“Hopefully here I can put together more pieces. When I run well, the time will be there.

“There are fast sprinters at this European Championships and I have not yet proved I’m running fast, but I’m still confident for the weekend.

“We have a couple of months until the Olympics so time is there to fine tune a few things and arrive in perfect shape.”

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