Marcell Jacobs: Olympics champion describes adjustments he’s made to get his injury-ravaged career back on track

Marcell Jacobs is the first Italian in history to reach an Olympic 100m final and win the gold medal

Marcell Jacobs: Olympics champion describes adjustments he’s made to get his injury-ravaged career back on track

Joel Omotto 13:03 - 31.03.2024

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs has revealed the changes he has made to his athletics career and personal life to regain his shape after injuries took its toll on him.

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs has explained how he has had to make changes to his training and personal life to get his athletics career back on track.

Jacobs claimed a surprise Olympics 100m gold when he pipped American Fred Kerley and South African Akani Simbine at the delayed Tokyo Games in 2021 but since then, his career went on a downward spiral.

He missed a number of lucrative races post the Tokyo Games and was also absent from the 2022 and 2023 World Championships after injuries took its toll on him.

Now looking for a strong comeback and possibly retain his title in Paris, Jacobs has had to make adjustments, which include changing his coach as well as moving his young family from Italy to the United States.

“People’s criticism really hit me hard,” Jacobs told The Guardian. “It came from everywhere – from Italy and abroad. As if I wasn’t competing because I was afraid. I’ve never been afraid of anything in my life. I wasn’t competing because I wasn’t able to.”

“It was a difficult time because you train to get results and not getting them was hard. The two post-Olympic years were difficult years. I really needed something that would spark me.”

Jacobs has also admitted being in the spotlight put a strain on him and it was what informed his decision to switch from Rome to Florida where he now goes about his business without much scrutiny.

“I could go to the shop in my socks and nobody would recognise me, so I can do what I want,” Jacob said of new his life. “It’s a lot different to life in Italy, but it helps me stay emotionally calm.”

Jacobs has had to deal with a back and sciatic nerve problem that was tricky to diagnose which contributed to his absences from major events.

The Texas-born sprinter ditched his coach Paolo Camossi and linked up with Rana Reider even though the highly experienced tactician was the subject to an 18-month investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

“I was really looking for a coach who didn’t have any qualms, hesitations or insecurities about training an Olympic champion,” said Jacobs on why he settled on Reider.

“Obviously, I did check the situation before I signed on with him. I didn’t sign on to be his best friend. I signed on to work with him. But of course, I did make sure that all the accusations were concluded before I signed on with him.

“I feel completely happy with the choice I made. I repeat, I am here to train as hard as I can. I’m here for results and I feel at peace with the choice I’ve made.”

Choosing to work with Reider means the Italian is now brushing shoulders with some of his track rivals such as Olympic 200m champion, Andre De Grasse, America’s double world 100m medallist Trayvon Bromell, the world 4x100m champion, Jerome Blake and the sub-10sec runner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown of Japan under the same stable.

Jacobs is enjoying the experience and already wishes he could have started sooner.

“As soon as I started training with the group, the thing I wondered was why I’d been training by myself for such a long time. Training in the group is incredibly motivational. Right now, we’re a group that pushes each other on and supports each other,” said Jacobs.

“We are there for each other. Sure, we’ll be competing against each other. We’ll have to see what happens over the next few months but right now, everybody is just training together. The companionship of training together is really meaningful to me.”

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