...Italy’s Olympic 100m hero on what went wrong after Tokyo, troublesome professional ties and his new life in Florida.

A couple of days after speaking to Marcell Jacobs, a call comes through from a member of his team. Amid logistical discussions over where and when the reigning Olympic 100 metres champion might be available for some photos, she has a message that Jacobs is keen for her to relay.

“He wanted to thank you for asking the difficult questions,” she says, “and for giving him the opportunity to answer them.”

Those questions have never really ceased for the Italian, whose victory in Tokyo almost three years ago was one of the biggest Olympic athletics surprises of recent times. Initially, they centred on how a former long jumper could have risen so stratospherically that he claimed sprinting’s biggest crown only three months after breaking the 10-second barrier for the first time.

There was also an awkward association with a nutritionist implicated in a police investigation into...

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Author: Ben Bloom