Italian sprinter Marcell Jacobs, the Olympic 100m champion, and American Fred Kerley, the Olympic silver medalist and world 100m champion, appear to have developed a rivalry off the track.
Last month, Kerley was asked on the “Sprint Culture” video podcast about Jacobs’ performance at the recent European Indoor Championships. Jacobs was runner-up in the 60m in 6.50 seconds, ranking him seventh in the world this year. Jacobs won the world indoor 60m title last year in 6.41 seconds.
“Indoor is indoor,” said Kerley, who last raced indoors in 2021. “The real dogs come and play outdoor.”
Kerley was then asked if Jacobs is “a real dog.”
“I don’t think so,” Kerley replied. “I’m just going to be truthful.”
Kerley then said, without naming the specific report, that Jacobs was quoted as saying that he’s not worried about any of the Americans who swept the 100m medals at last summer’s world championships: Kerley, silver medalist Marvin Bracy-Williams and bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell.
Jacobs withdrew from last year’s worlds before the semifinals due to leg injuries.
Jacobs appeared to respond with recent Instagram stories captioned “The lion doesn’t turn around when a small dog barks” and “Easy run today so as not to scare small dogs.”
The back-and-forth continued Monday after Jacobs posted another Instagram story, this time an image of him edging Kerley at the Tokyo Olympic 100m finish line.
“Whenever you want and wherever you want, but remember that when it mattered more it ended like this,” the caption read.
Kerley then tweeted at the account for the Diamond League, the sport’s premier international circuit, saying “make it happen I want 1v1 no one else just him. Him alone.”
Kerley also reposted one of Jacobs’ Instagram training clips, but wrote over it with a Daffy Duck and the caption “Ya the best at ducking,” implying that Jacobs avoids racing the world’s best sprinters.
The earliest that Kerley and Jacobs could meet in a Diamond League 100m is in Rabat, Morocco, on May 28.
However, it can be hard financially to get the reigning Olympic and world 100m champions to go head-to-head outside of global championships given the appearance fees athletes of that caliber typically take in and, sometimes, the reluctance of one or both to risk defeat.
Kerley quote-tweeted a tweet that asked how much it would take to get him and Jacobs to face off: “Talk to the agent if you don’t got 6 figures plus we ain’t talk,” he tweeted.
Since Tokyo, Jacobs and Kerley have not gone head-to-head, but Jacobs was injured for much of the 2022 season.
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