European athletics: From Iapichino to Jacobs, Italy sets a record with 24 medals


By John

It is a record-breaking Italy that bids farewell to the European athletics championships and also takes the presidential catwalk.

In fact, with every triumph of the evening, compliments arrive from the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, again this evening at the Olimpico, albeit in a private form. Four Italian medals on the final evening of the European Championships in Rome, for a total of 24, of which 11 gold. And the last could only be that of the men's 4×100, who had already graduated Olympic champion in Tokyo 2021, and world silver in Eugene. Melluzzo, Jacobs, Patta and Tortu gave first place to the Azzurri with a relay three-quarters of the same as that of the last Olympics, except for Melluzzo replacing Desalu in the first fraction. And if Professor Di Mulo's experiments count for something, then this team could also be the one in Paris to try to confirm themselves as Olympic champions.

But the Italy of speed has never had such a strong team and with over a month to go there are still many things that can change because Ali, Simonelli, Desalu and Rigali are also candidates for a place in the relay. In the meantime, the European gold arrives under the watchful eye of Mattarella who, before sitting in the stands, also had the opportunity to chat with Tamberi, who he cheered for yesterday from the stadium and who he will meet again at the Quirinale tomorrow for the delivery of the flag.

At the Olimpico, however, there was not only the President of the Republic, in the official stands there were also the president of the Senate, Ignazio La Russa, and the ministers Giorgetti, Abodi, Santanché and Ciriani who were able to rejoice for Pietro Arese's bronze in the 1500m and for the silvers in the men's 4x400m (Sito, Aceti, Meli, Scotti) and for Larissa Iapichino in the long jump. A medal, the latter, which arrived only on the last jump, when the Italian appeared on the platform with fourth place and a maximum measurement of 6.90. De Sousa and Assani were ahead by a centimeter, but the sixth attempt is the one that gets the Olimpico roaring as a 6.94 arrives which gives second place to the Italian. “I managed to bring out the best, it's a beautiful silver because it arrives in front of our fans – Iapichino's first immediate words -. I was able to find myself again and I didn't disappoint the people who were here with me”. Just as Arese did not disappoint with the bronze in the 1500m. “I put in everything – said the middle-distance runner – I played my cards and I'm almost sorry that the silver didn't arrive. I never thought I'd say it, but it's like that even though I'm very happy.” Then he recounted the brief exchange with Mattarella: “Meeting the President of the Republic doesn't happen every day, I explained to him that my teammates call me the president, so I told him 'I greet you from president to president'”. In short, magical nights that the Azzurri will hardly forget and which they will try to replicate in Paris.