Olympic 100 metres champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs will return to action for the first time since his shock Tokyo victories in the 60m indoor in Berlin on Friday, just days after denying accusations of doping.
The 27-year-old sprinter has not competed since he won gold in the 100m and 4x100m relay in Tokyo, and has prepared for his return by addressing head-on the suspicions which linger over his surprise Olympic triumphs.
“I would never do anything as an athlete competing for my country that would bring disrepute on me as a man or on my nation,” Jacobs told the Daily Telegraph in an interview last week, when asked directly if he had ever taken banned performance-enhancing substances.
Jacobs shocked the athletics world in August when he won Olympic gold with a European record of 9.80 seconds, only three months after having broken the ten-second barrier for the first time in his career.
His European 60m indoor title from the previous winter had already raised eyebrows, with experts asking how his performances could have improved so quickly without the help of doping.
The Italian’s former nutritional adviser Giacomo Spazzini was also implicated in a police investigation into the supply of anabolic steroids, before being cleared of wrongdoing in January.
‘Blood, sweat and tears’
Jacobs argued that his rapid improvement in the 100m was down to the fact that he was new to the sprinting events, having focused on the long jump for much of his career.
“This happens when you come from a different discipline. The fact that you haven’t done the 100m for your whole life allows for more improvement and faster improvement,” he told the Telegraph.
“My victories represent extreme hard work – hard work that nobody saw, hard work that was blood, sweat, tears and injuries,” he added
The excitement over his sensational victory in Italy was nonetheless tempered by speculation abroad, which was fuelled in turn by his decision to end his season after the Olympics instead of attacking the Diamond League title in September.
“I needed to regenerate my mind and body. I never lost my desire to compete,” he said.
Jacobs makes his return in Berlin exactly 187 days after his triumph in Japan, following a month of intensive preparation on Tenerife.
Ahead of the race at the ISTAF indoor meeting, he told Italian media that he was not setting his sights on a specific time.
But he also admitted that Dwain Chambers’ 60m European record of 6.42 seconds was his “objective for the indoor season”.
“The first race of the year is there to prepare you for the ones after it. I am not coming to Berlin to run a specific time, I’m coming to win,” he said.
The Olympic champion is the undisputed favourite in the German capital, where he will face Germany’s best male sprinters such as Deniz Almas, Lucas Ansah-Peprah, Kevin Kranz and Marvin Schulte.