Jacobs and Tamberi rejected by ghosts: the mysteries of the contested prize

Indignation after the exclusion from the 10 nominated for the Athlete of the year. They were to be chosen by six members of the world statisticians association, but the European councilor knows nothing about the vote

The indignation remains great. The exclusion of Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi from the list of ten nominated for the recognition of athlete (man) of the year by the international federation, even after the announcement of the list, is astonished. It is an objective question, not the daughter of that partisanship which, in cases like these, is always lurking. The tam-tam coming from the fields says so. The universe of social networks, not only Italian, reaffirms this. This is underlined by a detailed analysis of the 2021 results. Coni president Giovanni Malagò certifies it.

the slap

“Jacobs out of the top ten of the award as the best athlete of the year? A thing deeply wrong – declared the n. 1 of the Italian Olympic committee on the sidelines of the Giunta that designated Sofia Goggia as the blue flag bearer at the Beijing Winter Games -. very sorry. It is hardly credible that in the group there is not the only one who has won two Olympic gold medals and won the European indoor 60 title, closing the season with the best world time in the specialty. there is Tamberi, who also won the Diamond League. It is a lack of respect towards our two athletes. It is a slap in the face of common sense. I also called Anna Riccardi, a member of the Board of World Athletics, to understand the choice. it is not clear who decides the nominations “.

chi decide?

In fact, everything is shrouded in a certain mystery. The international federation has announced that the names of the chosen ones are defined by an independent jury composed of six members of the ATFS, the world association of statisticians, one for each continental area. The fact is that the identity of the six is ​​not revealed. From Montecarlo, headquarters of World Athletics, at our request, they let it be known that they opt for anonymity to protect the jurors themselves, so that they do not become the object of public abuse, given that in recent years, in the context of the assignment of the awards, there was no shortage of controversies (among the most recent are those with the authorized Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene at the center). For the record: Atfs, founded in 1950, had as its first president (until 1968) the unforgettable Roberto L. Quercetani, who for over half a century was also a very precious collaborator of The Gazzetta dello Sport. The association, since 2000, is led by the Australian Paul Jenes and, according to those who frequent the environment, in recent times it has become predominantly Anglo-Saxon. Among the current members of the board (in English they call it committee, committee), also in this case one for each Continent, representing Europe is the Florentine Pino Mappa. Which says: “I am not part of the independent jury, nor do I know who makes it up”. In short: the scenarios appear rather nebulous and the impression is that, behind the whole, there is not the maximum transparency.


In these hours, about the exclusion of Jacobs (last week among the three finalists for similar recognition in the European context) and that of Tamberi, the most abstruse hypotheses are rebounding in the meantime. There are those who remember the sentence of Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, of last March 18, about the Schwazer affair (“I love Italy, I don’t want to put it on the wrong side of history”). Those who remember Riccardi’s “refusal” of summer 2019 to a possible role as vice president (“I think he would have liked – Coe told our newspaper – but with the assignment of the 2026 Games in Milan-Cortina it is normal that his viewfinder be moved elsewhere “). And there are those who speak of British revenge after the summer events. Stefano Mei, president of Fidal since January, however, does not change his position with respect to what was already expressed on Thursday: “The track, the chronometer and the meter count – says Formia – the awards ceremonies, statistics and rankings, while very useful, have a relative weight . I am surprised and disappointed, but neither irritated nor scandalized. And don’t tell me that our image is affected by the lack of appointments. What we had to prove, we proved it during the year and in particular at the Tokyo Olympics by winning five golds. Everything else is relative. The world of athletics knows real values ​​”.

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Jacobs and Tamberi rejected by ghosts: the mysteries of the contested prize