“I haven’t seen him, we have only spoken. But he wrote to me last night saying, ‘You can do it,’” Jacobs said after his stunning win over Fred Kerley of the United States and Andre De Grasse of Canada.
Jacobs was born in El Paso, Texas, to an Italian mother and a U.S. Army soldier, The New York Times noted. After his father, who goes by Marcell Jacobs Sr., was transferred to South Korea, he and his mother moved to Italy when he was an infant.
“I never saw my dad from that time,” he said, per Associated Press. “But I started to speak with him one year ago for the first time. This helped me arrive here with a good mentality.”
Jacobs credited his “mental coach” for encouraging him to establish a relationship with his father, who lives in the Dallas area.
Here’s the Italian’s victory:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.