Olympic 100-meter champ's agent 'absolutely sure' Jacobs has never taken PEDs
He was one of the heartwarming stories of these Olympics, a converted long jumper who rose from anonymity to become the first Italian to hold the title of world’s fastest man.
Now Lamont Marcell Jacobs is having to defend himself amid reports that his former nutritionist is the subject of a steroid probe.
Jacobs’ agent told Yahoo Sports on Saturday that “he’s absolutely sure that Marcell has never used any performance-enhancing drug.” Marcello Magnani said his client has been drug tested 20 times this calendar year, including five times in Tokyo alone.
A spokesperson for the Athletics Integrity Unit, which is affiliated with the World Athletics, confirmed Jacobs has “undergone a substantial amount of testing” in 2021 and “has been tested multiple times during the Games in Tokyo.” All of Jacobs’ tests analyzed so far have been negative for substances on the World Anti-Doping Association's prohibited list, the AIU spokesperson told Yahoo Sports.
Jacobs’ drug-testing history gained newfound relevance on Saturday because of a report from the Times of London that his former nutritionist is at the center of a police investigation into the illegal distribution of anabolic steroids. Police in Milan, according to the Times, are investigating an alleged link between “nutritionist Giacomo Spazzini and an unnamed individual accused of providing illegally procured growth hormones and anabolic steroids.”
Spazzini, a bodybuilder who owns a fitness and nutrition consulting company, has taken credit on social media and in the Italian media for training Jacobs. In an Instagram post following Jacobs’ stunning victory in the Olympic final of the men’s 100, Spazzini wrote in Italian that Jacobs didn’t tap into his full potential until they began working together.
When they first met, Spazzini recalled that Jacobs “didn’t eat properly” and “allowed himself too many cheats.” Spazzini suggested in his Instagram post that everything began to come together for Jacobs after “we taught him the power that discipline can give in terms of results.”
“I’m really proud to have been part of this transformation with my company,” Spazzini wrote.
Jacobs’ agent said the sprinter had a “working relationship” with Spazzini until March. Magnani said his client immediately severed ties with Spazzini “as soon as he found out about the [police] investigation.”
The details of Jacobs’ life story have been repeated often over the past week.
Born in El Paso, Texas, to an Italian mother and an African American father, Jacobs left the U.S. as an infant and never returned. He and his mother moved to Italy after his father, a soldier in the United States Army, was transferred to South Korea.
As you might expect from a man whose Instagram handle is “crazylongjumper,” Jacobs’ initial speciality in track and field was the long jump. Only after he didn’t enjoy enough success did he turn his focus to the short sprints three years ago.
For awhile, Jacobs’ results in the 100 weren’t much better. His best time from 2018 to 2020 was 10.03 seconds, very fast for sure but not nearly enough to worry other sprinters with aspirations of medaling at the Olympics.
Jacobs’ first real taste of success came at age 26 in March when he won the European indoor 60-meter title. He followed that up by running a 9.95 in May and a 9.99 in July. At the Olympics, Jacobs lowered his personal best in all three rounds of the men’s 100. He unleashed a 9.80 in the final, finishing just ahead of the U.S.'s Fred Kerley, who took silver in 9.84 seconds and Canada's Andre DeGrasse, who claimed bronze in 9.89 seconds.
The sight of Jacobs winning the 100 and then following that up by leading Italy to gold in the 4x100 relay caught everyone by surprise — even drug testers. Italy had never produced a finalist in the men’s 100 before, let alone the champion.
In 2017, World Athletics founded the AIU as an independent body tasked with combating doping in track and field. The AIU requires the world’s highest-ranked track and field athletes to submit where they plan to be each day and to make themselves available for testing every day during a 60-minute window of their choice.
While the AIU’s registered testing pool includes 11 sprinters who specialize in the 100 meters, Jacobs is not one of them. The AIU spokesperson attributed that to “his late emergence as a contender,” pointing out that Jacobs didn’t break 10 seconds in the 100 for the first time in his career until May.
What the AIU did instead before the last quarter of 2020 was to include Jacobs in its next-tier “target testing pool” and to ask the Italian Anti-Doping Agency to add him to its domestic testing pool. Both the AIU and Italian Anti-Doping Agency have tested Jacobs since then.
Jacobs’ agent insists his client has nothing to hide.
“We know how far Marcell is from any prohibited conduct,” Magnani said, “so we have no problems to respond to questions.”
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