FILE PHOTO: Athletics – World Athletics Championships – Doha 2019 – Males’s 4×100 Metres Relay Heats – Khalifa Worldwide Stadium, Doha, Qatar – October 4, 2019. Canada’s Andre De Grasse reacts. REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel
June 8, 2021
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Canada’s Andre De Grasse doesn’t dwell on the accidents that derailed the higher a part of two seasons however somewhat stays laser centered on the Tokyo Olympics the place a golden alternative awaits him given the notable absence of retired sprinter Usain Bolt.
This yr will mark the primary time because the 2004 Athens Video games the place a male athlete aside from world file holder Bolt will change into the 100m or 200m Olympic champion.
“The primary factor for me is staying harm free,” three-time Olympic medallist De Grasse advised Reuters in a video interview. “If I can keep harm free and get to the beginning line I do know I can accomplish massive issues.”
De Grasse grew to become a family title after he gained bronze within the 100m on the 2016 Rio Video games, silver within the 200m and bronze within the 4x100m relay, making him the primary Canadian athlete to win Olympic medals in all three dash occasions.
He then missed many of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with proper hamstring accidents however overcame that stretch of adversity as he gained bronze within the 100m and silver within the 200m on the 2019 world championships in Doha.
The lengthy highway again from harm, a stretch throughout which De Grasse stated he needed to overcome doubters who questioned whether or not he would ever be the identical sprinter, performed a job in him becoming a member of psychological well being tech firm headversity in Could as a resilience ambassador.
Now, with reigning 100m world champion Christian Coleman additionally absent from Tokyo whereas he serves a ban for lacking three medication assessments in a 12-month interval, De Grasse, 26, could have his finest shot but at successful the crown jewel of the Summer season Video games.
“The final Olympics I felt like I had an excellent shot at successful gold, this Olympics I really feel I’ve a shot and I’ll most likely say the identical factor once more for the (2024) Olympics. That’s simply my mindset,” stated De Grasse.
“I’m only a assured man and I all the time really feel I can do higher. I really feel I haven’t reached my peak but, or individuals wish to say my prime, I really feel like I haven’t reached that but.”
‘LITTLE BIT SCARY’
De Grasse, who stated he enjoys the intense lights and stress of the Olympic stage, has been rounding into kind forward of the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Video games the place he stated little or no separates all the highest opponents.
“We’re all simply as quick, all of us have across the identical private bests … but it surely’s actually like you need to do it on that precise day,” stated De Grasse.
“That’s the laborious half, and that’s the place quite a lot of stress will get to individuals generally the place they’ll’t execute the race that they need to or they don’t seem to be feeling nearly as good as after they ran that point earlier than.”
Like many different athletes, De Grasse was initially upset when the Tokyo Olympics had been postponed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic however he finally got here round and loved the uncommon psychological and bodily break it supplied him.
Whereas De Grasse works out six days every week hoping to change into the subsequent dash king, he’s effectively conscious there are extra critical issues at stake contemplating Japan stays underneath a state of emergency as a result of pandemic.
“It’s a little bit bit scary listening to within the information about what’s occurring in Tokyo however I attempt not to consider it,” stated De Grasse.
“I attempt to hold an open thoughts and deal with what I can management and simply hope the scenario can get higher by the point that we’re able to recover from there.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Enhancing by Toby Davis)