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Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Italy's surprise 100-meters Olympic gold medalist Lamont Marcell Jacobs opened up Sunday about how reconnecting with his American father over the past year has helped spur him on.

What he's saying: The Texas-born sprinter told reporters after setting a European record of 9.80 seconds to win gold in Sunday's event that getting back in touch with his father "gave me the desire, the speed, that something more that helped me being here and win the Olympics."

Driving the news: The 26-year-old athlete was born in El Paso to a U.S. serviceman father and Italian mother before moving to Italy with his mom as a baby. He's received encouraging messages since he reconnected with his Dallas-based father, Jacobs notes.

  • Jacobs' mental health coach told him "if you want to run fast, you need to get to a place that feels good for you with your father," he recalled.
  • "You are in your blood American ... and you need to speak with him to arrive at the Olympic Games and maybe win," he quoted the coach as saying.

The big picture: Sunday's race was the first Olympic men's 100m final since athletics great Usain Bolt retired.

  • Jacobs was a relative-unknown before he won the race, leaving American Fred Kerley with a silver medal and Canada’s Andre de Grasse with bronze.

Of note: Kerley told reporters he "didn't know nothing about" 26-year-old Jacobs before his win, while De Grasse said: "I thought my main competition would be the Americans ... he really shocked me and surprised me, so really congrats to him."

  • Even Jacobs seemed shocked by his win, describing the result as "incredible" and "like a dream."
  • "I think I need four or five years to realize and understand what's happening," he added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further comment from Jacobs on his father.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 8, 2021 - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's players celebrate their victory in their women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil during the Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images

🥇: U.S. clinches top Olympic gold spot after women's indoor volleyball team win

🏀: U.S. women's basketball scores 7th straight Olympic gold medal

🚴‍♀️: American Jennifer Valente wins final women's cycling gold of Tokyo Games

🤸🏿‍♀️: Biden lauds Biles for mental health "courage," praises Team USA in virtual meeting — Poll: Americans care about Olympians' mental health

🐎: Germany's modern pentathlon coach disqualified from Games for punching horse

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.