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The greatest day in Italian sport: How Italy reacted to winning two Olympic golds on Sunday

A lone customer at a city-centre bar in Parma jumped with fright on Sunday afternoon, as the lone barista erupted behind the counter. On a slight delay around the piazza, other proprietors and customers cheered as they learned that Lamont Marcell Jacobs had made history for Italy by winning the country's first-ever Olympic 100-metre gold in Tokyo.

It was quite a day for the country, adding to what had already been a half-decent summer. Having become the first country to have won the Eurovision song contest and the European Championship in the same summer, Jacobs' win added the Olympic Games' showpiece event to mark an impressive hat-trick.

In addition, Gianmarco Tamberi had won a shared gold in the men's high jump on Sunday.

The reaction in Italy has been, expectedly, jubilant. But there has been a feeling that Italy have deserved success, that the country has earned a bit of happiness and an excuse for celebration. After being the first European nation to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the celebrations in 2021 have been that bit more emotional.

Making headlines

"Incredible Jacobs," read the headline on the homepage of La Gazzetta dello Sport's website on Sunday evening. "A legendary gold, winning the 100m final in 9.80 seconds."

Everywhere you look, there are reminders that, as La Gazzetta dello Sport put it, "a boy raised on Lake Garda" is the fastest man in the world.

Italian sport's greatest day

Stefano Barigelli of La Gazzetta dello Sport described Sunday as being "the most beautiful day in the history of Italian sport" piling praise onto the gold medallists Jacobs and Tamberi.

La Repubblica went with a similar headline on their homepage, describing Sunday as "the greatest day in Italian sport", adding that Jacobs and Tamberi would go down in history.

The romance of the day wasn't lost on La Repubblica and they did also bring his recent engagement to light, with him having proposed to his partner Chiara before leaving for Tokyo.

La Stampa described the day as "a double golden dream", adding that "Tamberi flies for Italy" and adding another reminder that the world's fastest man is Italian. Like many publications, La Stampa also published a biographical look at the Texas-born sprinter.

Records worth celebrating

Winning 100m gold is an achievement that doesn't need adding to, but Jacobs' time of 9.80 seconds is a European record as well and he became the first European to win the event this century.

Having struggled for a long time to even break the 10-second barrier, Jacobs is now the fastest man in the world and just the latest story of Italian success this summer.

What's certain already is that Italy won't be forgetting this triumphant summer in a hurry.

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