The legacy of Andre De Grasse- Canada’s wonder boy
When we think back on the 2016 Rio Olympic games as Canadians, two names will come to mind right away. 16 year old swimmer Penny Oleksiak, who left the world in awe after winning 4 medals. Then there’s 21 year old Andre de Grasse, the young Canadian sprinter who gave Usain Bolt a run for his money in both the 100m and 200m finals. He came away with a bronze medal in the 100 metre, a silver in the 200 metre, and a bronze in the 4 by 100 relay which leaves him in very good company. But now that Bolt will be retiring, the 2020 games in Japan will be Andre’s real chance to shine. There isn’t any sprinter out there right now except Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin who are faster than De Grasse, but both of them have announced this was their last Olympic games.
But De Grasse wasn’t always this good, it came from a ton of hard work and perseverance. Here’s his story.
De Grasse was born in Markham, Ontario. His mother was a former high school sprinter back in her native country of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up, De Grasse was obsessed with basketball. It was the main sport he played, but he was always quite small. He clearly wanted to be a basketball player. But in his senior year of high school, the basketball team was cut from the Athletics program at Milliken Mills high school in Markham. Well, this left Andre pretty down and out, knowing he had nowhere to play ball anymore. But more doors opened up because of it.
Later that year in May, he ran into a friend on the city bus. He was heading to track practice, and invited Andre along. He said “okay I’ll come, but I’m not watching, I’ll race you or something.”
So he ended up running in the next meet for fun. He told his mom the morning of, so she came out to watch him. He soared all the way to the 100m final that afternoon, wearing baggy basketball shorts and spikes he borrowed from a friend, De Grasse cruised to a second place finish. This kid just took up sprinting. Ex Olympian sprinter Tony Sharpe was in the stands that day, and saw something very special in the young De Grasse, so he invited him to join his track club.
Well, from there, it took off. He eventually got a scholarship to junior college powerhouse for track Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He left the school in 2014 with five NJCAA titles, leaving NCAA division 1 schools from all over the nation feigning for the chance to get Andre to join their school and track program. He ultimately decided to head to beautiful Southern California, and join the USC Trojans. Andre said when he arrived at USC, things took off for him. He was introduced to a whole new level of training regimens and drills, ones he had never seen before. It all paid off, because come June of 2015 in the NCAA championships, De Grasse cruised to gold in both the 100m and 200m races, solidifying his mark on the sprinting world, and clearly proving it was time. Time for De Grasse to hit the world of professional sprinting. He would go on to complete the double once again winning gold in the 100m and 200m in the Pan am games in Toronto last summer, which sealed the deal for him. In December of 2015, De Grasse signed a reported $11.25 million deal with Puma. He would leave USC and become a pro.
Well as you know, he has done what most people didn’t think he could do. He medaled in all 3 events in Rio, and has put his name in the record books in Canadian history, and well, is definitely in line for another pay day anytime soon.
Andre De Grasse is the future of Canadian sprinting. It’s obvious he was born with a lot of god given ability to be a great sprinter, but there was a ton of hard work put in the last 4 years leading up to Rio. Most of the sprinters out there have been sprinting for years, and this kid has been doing it for only 4 years. In most sports, being 5 foot 9 and 155 pounds, well professional careers are hard to come by. But it looks like he’s found his niche.
It will be exciting to see what he will do In the 2020 games, and all the events leading up to that.
Andre De Grasse- Canada’s claim to fame on the track.