De Grasse steps into spotlight

on August 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

We are a week into the Olympics and Canadian women have already marked these games as their own winning the first 12 medals. So it’s near impossible for any one man to dig deep and come out with a gutsy performance to share in that glory, but one man has. Now, the last thing you would ever hear a man say to impress a woman is, “I can go 9.91 seconds.” But if your name is Andre De Grasse, and you just won a bronze medal in the 100m in that time then guess what, you are the exception because that is HUGELY impressive. Although he is the first Canadian male to win a medal maybe he too can be the spark for not only the men, but the entire athletics team as we continue week two.

De Grasse joins Donovan Bailey, Ben Johnson (bronze in 1984), Harry Jerome (bronze in 1964) and the original Canadian speedster, Percy Williams who won gold in the 100m & 200m back in 1928. I mention all these names because the 100m race has such an historical impact that it truly is one of, if not the most important event at the summer Olympics. Therefore, this bronze doesn’t have more significance because it was won by a male, but because of the event it was won in. Almost every single newspaper around the world will have a front page picture of the winner of that race the next day. The reason why it is so important is simple. Everybody at one point or another, dreams of running fast. You run to catch a bus or to not be late for work. Maybe it was to run away from a bully or even in other sports when you try to catch a football or steal a base. It is the one event that you don’t need anything else to do. You don’t require a discus or javelin; you don’t need a soccer ball or a swimming pool; heck, you don’t even really need a pair of shoes. It is the one event that the most countries participate in and therefore the one event that they all tend to watch. Everyone always wants to know who has been crowned as the fastest person in the world.

This year is no different and to add to all the hype, Rio’s winner has done something even more special. Usain Bolt, the biggest name in track and field, is now the first person in history to win the 100m race for the third Olympics in a row. Now we all know the legend that is Michael Phelps having now won 28 medals of which 23 are gold. Bolt has only won 7 yet there are heated discussions by media and fans alike as to what is the bigger accomplishment. The fact that Bolt is even is the same conversation with someone who has won more than 3x as many gold medals, should give you an indication of how much weight is put on the 100m track event. It is that damn important and therefore, again, lends credence to Andre De Grasse’s accomplishment. It doesn’t hurt either that Bolt (8 inches taller) has taken De Grasse like a big brother. There were some high five and fist pumps before and after the semi-final heat and then this little exchange after the final.

The race itself was a testament to the 5 foot 9 inch Scarberian’s poise and determination. De Grasse is not one of the best starters, far from it actually, and was behind the field in the first 20 metres. On the flipside, eventual silver medalist Justin Gatlin shot out of the gate and led for most of the race until Bolt caught and passed him in the last 10 metres. If the race was just a metre or two longer, De Grasse would have caught Gatlin for second finishing only two one-hundredths of a second behind. The great part about the race was that once he reaches top speed, there isn’t anyone who can catch him. De Grasse will have 4 years to work on his start and once he masters that, he might not only join Donovan Bailey and Percy Williams he might surpass them. He has a shot at winning the 100m and 200m like Percy did and with Aaron Brown (another up and coming sprinter) maybe win the 4x100m like Bailey did in Atlanta. But we have four years to dream about that scenario, let’s just enjoy his bronze for now and see what he can do in the 200m later on this week.

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