We The Italians | Italian sport: The different twins of blue speed

Italian sport: The different twins of blue speed

Italian sport: The different twins of blue speed

  • WTI Magazine #161 Mar 18, 2023
  • 832

The fastest man in the world for the past two years is the Italian, American-born, Marcell Jacobs. The lightning bolt born in El Paso, Texas, to an American father and an Italian mother, has won everything in recent years except the world outdoor title. Olympic champion in Tokyo in the 100 meters and in the 4x100 relay, world indoor champion, European outdoor and indoor champion, European record holder in the 100 meters (9.80), Jacobs is the unstoppable man in the 100 and 60 meters.

Since exploding into becoming the fastest man in the world, he has become a real star living between the track and appearances on television, in commercials, at galas, and with a huge following on social media. He's a flashy guy who stands out when he goes on the road because of his colorful attire and the likability he radiates wherever he is. But when he steps onto the track, he transforms into a tiger that annihilates opponents, including the strongest ever, Americans and Jamaicans.

No one, except at the 2022 World Championships, has been able to beat him since the Tokyo Olympic Games. Then last February 19, a shy 23-year-old boy born in Massa, Tuscany, whose name is Samuele Ceccarelli, who studies law at the University of Pisa and loves to run and has never won anything, so is not considered a top athlete, shows up at the Italian Championships in Ancona, Marche.

He runs the 60 meters fast in the battery and then comes to the final next to his idol, Jacobs, the unbeatable. He starts running like a high-speed train and by a few hundredths wins the race ahead of Jacobs surprising the whole athletics world. No one knew who he was until the day before, and the technicians who analyze his race discovered that this guy ran 57 meters in a push, something that had never been seen before that day. A really strange way of running, which makes it clear that the boy has huge potential even in the 100 meters.

But the next day, Ceccarelli goes back to his normal life, and everyone thinks that he winning that race might have been a fluke. Jacobs congratulates him, but he knows he will definitely beat him at the next event.

Three weeks later, the European Indoor Championships take place in Istanbul, Turkey, where the favorite for the 60-meter race of course is star Marcell Jacobs. Ceccarelli, thanks to winning the Italian Championships, is summoned to the national team to compete, but no one expects anything from him. On the day of the semifinals, however, Ceccarelli wins his own battery by running 6.47, the second best performance ever in Italy after Jacobs' and fifth best in Europe. Hopes that he can do something incredible the next day begin to grow.

Then comes the day of the finals, where the fastest athletes in Europe are on the track, and Ceccarelli calmly shows up on the starting blocks. Ready, set, go, and like a fairy tale, the young Tuscan athlete again runs faster than everyone, even Jacobs, winning the European title just ahead of the Olympic champion. An unbelievable story as only in sports can happen, with a super star being beaten in a few days by an unknown athlete who probably never dreamed in life of accomplishing such a feat. Two arrows, One heart.