Canada’s Andre De Grasse ran his fastest 100-metre time ever to capture the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“From me this is an amazing moment. Last year I never thought we would be here in Tokyo,” De Grasse said after the race. “And to get back on the podium it’s amazing.”
De Grasse finished the race in 9.89 seconds, while Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs took the gold in 9.80. The silver went to Fred Kerley of the United States.
De Grasse, from Markham, Ont., is Canada’s first male athlete to win an Olympic medal at the Games.
Starting in lane nine, At about 60-metre mark, De Grasse seemed to be out of the race before making a valiant charge down the stretch but ran out of room.
“I knew it was going to be a tough one after I drew lane nine. I didn’t have a great semifinal and I knew I had to come out and try and execute as best as I can,” he said. “I ran a personal best and I am really grateful for that.”
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Donovan Bailey, who won gold in this race for Canada at the 1996 Olympics, said De Grasse did all he could.
“The race that he ran from lane nine was probably the best race he could have run,” said Bailey, who is now an analyst for CBC Sports. “A tremendous last 30 metres allowed [De Grasse] to continue his podium run.”
On a heavy, sticky Tokyo evening, under the bright lights that ring Olympic Stadium, it was a perfect night for the Games’ marquee event.
Temperatures hovered around 30C at race time, with only the whisper of breeze circulating around the empty bowl of the cavernous stadium.
As the planet’s eight fastest men approached the blocks — even though the stadium was empty — the weight of the moment could be felt.
Wearing his trademark red and grey kit and wraparound sunglasses, De Grasse — who stands five-foot-eight — stepped cooly toward the blocks.
The stadium lights dimmed, and the world’s most-watched stretch of track was bathed in the spotlight.
‘A lot of nerves’
With hundreds of millions of people around the world watching the race, ominous music pumped through the stadium’s PA system, adding to the tension.
Then came a false start.
“It was a lot of nerves out there for all of us,” De Grasse said. “Anyone of us could have won that race tonight. We all just gave it our best and I am just super grateful.”
The moment after the gun goes off in the Olympic 100m race is usually followed by the loudest roar of the Games.
But as the runners broke from the blocks, near silence, only filled by thousands of clicks coming from cameras.
Coming into Tokyo, the coveted World’s Fastest Man title was there for the taking.
In Rio, the sprinting world was in the thrall of now-retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, whose 9.58 remains a world record.
But now it’s anyone’s race.
De Grasse hasn’t given up on finally climbing to the top of the podium, and he says he can still go faster.
“I feel like every year I just keep getting better. I have still got time in me and I just have to keep going.”
Published at Fri, 23 Jul 2021 17:08:14 +0000