Despite coming to the sport late, Andre De Grasse has emerged as Canada’s fastest man and a legitimate threat to the world’s front-running sprinters. David Ebner tries to catch up with the rising star
The repeated crack of the starter pistol punctuates the quiet morning. Training at the University of Southern California, sprinter Andre De Grasse readies in the starting blocks. At the sound of the gun, he springs forth and flies 20 or so metres down the track before slowing and turning around to do it again.
It’s a warm Friday in mid-June. Mr. De Grasse smiles and jokes with his USC track teammates during a light practice. He has broad shoulders and a thin waist. He’s 5 foot 10 and 155 pounds. There is zero outward indication that Mr. De Grasse, one week earlier, had run two of the fastest races in history. Complete story here
Dave Ebner's story in the Globe and Mail was almost one year ago and in many ways highly predictive of Andre's story. He rocketed to be amongst the top sprinter's in the world and was given a professional contract said to in excess of 11 million dollars by Puma. He has just won two Diamond League sprint titles in Birmingham and Oslo. Last summer he took gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto and the bronze at the World Championships in Beijing. Lofty accomplishments for any 21 year old.
Next stop for this phenomena is the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic on Friday, June 17 at Swangard Stadium. He has indicated he wishes to be entered into both the 100m and 200m. De Grasse will face Olympian, Ryan Bailey of Portland ,Oregon who has run 9.88 seconds for the 100m and 2012 Olympian from the Cayman Islands, Kemar Hyman with a best of 9.95 seconds in the 100m. With two other sub 10 second sprinters in the field, Andre De Grasse will have to be a his best to top this field. Fellow Canadian, Dontae Richards-Kwok, 2012 Olympian, will run with a best of 10.12 seconds.
Tickets are $25 finish line, $10 general admission are available on line at www.harryjeorme.com. First event starts at 6pm with doors open at 5pm. Opening ceremonies will be at 7:30pm