By Gerald V. Paul
“Winning is fun for me” Andre De Grasse told The Camera just before racking up another victory, the 100m in 9.95 seconds at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Edmonton.
De Grasse, whose Barbadian father is Alex Waithe and mother is Trinidad and Tobago’s Beverley De Grasse, is the future of Canadian track and field and is coming to the Pan Am Games.
While the young Markham athlete was on a high note during the teleconference, with all the expectations his mother is concerned. “Once you run under 10 seconds, is it expected you run under 10 seconds all the time?”
But Andre took the pressure in stride, saying, “I’m just going to go out there and try to do my best on the world stage and see if I can bring back a medal for Canada.”
The 20-year-old won in a personal best 9.5 seconds, becoming the first person to run a sub-10 on Canadian soil since Maurice Greene, who ran 9.82 at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. Toronto’s Aaron Brown was second at 10.13 while Justyn Warner, also of Toronto, was third at 10.16 seconds.
“I don’t have any pressure in this sport,” De Grasse said in the teleconference. “I’m just having fun and coach Caryl (Smith Gilbert) tells me that all the time, ‘Just go out there, and have fun’.”
And according to Gilbert, fast as he is, De Grasse is still learning how to race properly and his technique is far from perfect. Since he’s so new to sprint training, he’s only doing about 75% so far.
“He’s learning how to lift properly, is sticking with relatively light weights which limit his power coming out of the blocks,” Gilbert said. “I always joke with him that was the worst 9.75 I’ve ever seen.”
De Grasse, a junior for the University of Southern California, stunned the track and field world when he won both the 100m and 200m races – less than 45 minutes apart – at the NCAA championships. He ran 9.75 in the 100 and 19.58 in the 200m in Eugene, Oregon.