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Trayvon Bromell doesn’t make 100-meter final

The former Gibbs High standout ran his semifinal heat in 9.996 seconds, finishing third.
Trayvon Bromell, of the United States, looks up after finishing a semifinal of the men's 100-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.
Trayvon Bromell, of the United States, looks up after finishing a semifinal of the men's 100-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. [ MARTIN MEISSNER | AP ]
Published Aug. 1
Updated Aug. 1

TOKYO — Marcell Jacobs won the men’s Olympic 100-meter race Sunday night, crossing the line in 9.8 seconds to bring the marquee sprint gold to Italy for the first time.

Even in a race with no clear favorites, Jacobs was a surprise. He topped America’s Fred Kerley and Canada’s Andre DeGrasse to take the spot held for the past 13 years by the now-retired Usain Bolt.

His path was made that much easier when American Trayvon Bromell, who came into Tokyo with the world’s leading time and as the odds-on favorite, didn’t even make the 100-meter final.

Bromell, a former Gibbs High standout, ran his semifinal heat in 9.996 seconds to finish third. His time was .001 out of the second automatic qualifying spot.

Related: How Trayvon Bromell’s Olympic success is inspiring his childhood neighborhood

The fastest time over the three heats came from Su Bingtian of China, an indoor specialist who was the first man from his country to break 10 seconds.

Su ran the third heat in an Asian record 9.83 seconds, finishing a fraction ahead of American Ronnie Baker.

Bromell then had to wait to see if he would get one of the two wildcard spots in the eight-man final but the top four runners in Su’s heat all cracked 10 seconds.

“I’m not really sure what I could’ve done better,” Bromell said, “but the race went the way the race went.”

Jacobs’ victory came on quite a night for Italy. Only a few minutes before his stunner, countryman Gianmarco Tamberi tied Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim for gold in the high jump. Tamberi, writhing on the ground, kicking his feet up in jubilation needed someone to hug – and found him when Jacobs, of all people, crossed the line first.

Earlier, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela broke a 26-year-old world record in the triple jump with a leap of 51 feet, 5 inches (15.67 meters).

The Jacobs victory left everyone outside Italy – and maybe some in the country, as well – letting out a collective “Who?”

He was born in El Paso, Texas – the son of an American father and an Italian mother.

He moved to Italy as a young boy when the U.S. military transferred his dad to South Korea. He was a long-jump specialist for years, and his biggest major success was an indoor 60-meter win at European champions.

Now, he’s on the same list with Bolt — an Olympic sprint champion.

The day’s other gold medal went to Gong Lijao of China, who bested American Raven Saunders of the United States. Saunders, who is openly gay and wears an “Incredible Hulk” mask when she competes, closed out the medals ceremony by lifting her arms above her head and forming an “X” with her wrists.

“It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” she explained.

- Eddie Pells