The Tokyo Olympics crowned a number of new champions who announced themselves on the world stage. Here are some of the breakout stars:
– Lamont Marcell Jacobs –
Italy’s Jacobs produced arguably the shock result of the Olympics – and one of the biggest shocks in Olympic history — when he claimed victory in the 100m, storming out of athletics obscurity to take gold in a time of 9.80sec.
A few days later the 26-year-old helped Italy win a 4x100m relay gold, capping a remarkable transformation for a sprinter who had never broken the 10-second barrier this season and whose previous career highlight was this year’s European indoor 60m title.
– Tatjana Schoenmaker –
Tatjana Schoenmaker announced herself on the Olympic stage in style when she smashed the women’s 200m breaststroke world record to claim South Africa’s first gold in the pool since 1996.
The 24-year-old had already won silver in the 100m and threatened Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen’s 200m world benchmark in the heats, joking she wished her fingernails were just a bit longer.
But Schoenmaker needed no help from a manicurist to clock 2min 18.95sec in the final and clip 0.16s off Moller Pedersen’s record.
The South African gave a surprised scream when she saw her time on the board, promptly bursting onto tears and sharing a group hug with her competitors.