ROME (Reuters) – Double Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs said on Thursday that he never has and never will take performance-enhancing drugs, while the Italian explained that he ended his 2021 season early because of exhaustion.
The Texas-born 27-year-old became the first Italian to win Olympic 100 metres gold in August, setting a European record time of 9.80 seconds in the final, before adding a second gold to his collection in the 4×100 metres relay.
The former long jumper’s stunning win and rapid improvement – he broke the 10-second barrier for the first time three months before the Tokyo Games – led to some media reports highlighting past doping cases involving breakout athletics stars, but Jacobs said his success was purely down to his efforts.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Jacobs was asked if he had ever taken an illegal substance.
“Absolutely not, and I would not,” he said.
He added: “People think they can say whatever they want about you without understanding that sometimes what they say can be hurtful.
“The negative pieces hurt me a bit because what they did was put doubt over my victories.
“My victories represent extreme hard work – hard work that nobody saw, hard work that was blood, sweat, tears and injuries.”
Jacobs, who will return to competitive action in Berlin in February having not competed since the Olympics, explained why he took such a lengthy absence.
“For the average viewer, they saw me win at the Olympics and had no idea what my season had been like before that. My season started in February and it was intense,” he said.
“The whole Olympic period was exhausting, not just for my body, but also my mind. I needed to regenerate my mind and body. I never lost my desire to compete.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)