Huffpost Canada ca

Andre De Grasse Wins Silver Medal In Men's 200M Sprint

Posted: Updated:
Print

RIO DE JANEIRO — Canada's Andre De Grasse won the silver medal in the men's 200-metre final at the Rio Olympics on Thursday night.

The 21-year-old sprint star from Markham, Ont., finished in 20.02 seconds.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt took gold for the third consecutive Olympics in 19.78. France's Christophe Lemaitre was third in 20.12 seconds.

De Grasse became the first Canadian to win two individual track medals in the same Olympics since 1932.

andre de grasse
Andre De Grasse celebrates after coming in second in the men's 200m final, Aug. 18, 2016. (Photo: Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)

He could add a third medal in the 4x100 relay final, where Canada is looking for redemption after a lane violation four years ago in London cost them a bronze medal, and left the runners in tears.

In Thursday's 200-metre final, Bolt pulled out to an early lead ahead of the pack. De Grasse visibly picked up the pace, slightly pulling ahead of the group to place second.

Lemaitre and Britain's Adam Gemili were tied at 20.12 and needed a photo finish to determine that the Frenchman had won bronze.

If the Rio Olympics are De Grasse's coming out party, the Canadian has played a charming host.

'Bromance' with Usain Bolt

On Sunday night, he became the youngest Olympic medallist in the 100 metres, track and field's marquee event, since 1984 when he raced to bronze. And in the moments after the thrilling run, he walked arm in arm with Bolt, painting a terrific picture draped in their countries' flags.

And that was only the beginning of their "bromance."

In Wednesday's 200 semifinal, the fearless Canadian chased Bolt down the homestretch strategically hoping to tire out the 29-year-old Jamaican. De Grasse turned and grinned playfully at the big Jamaican as he pulled alongside him, a comical moment that spawned countless memes on the Internet.

De Grasse got to know Bolt during a winter trip to Jamaica to do promotional work for Puma, and the two have been a breath of fresh air — and a photographer's dream — in Rio, in a sport that desperately needs one.

Spotted joking with each other during warmup, and even during pre-race practice strides, the pair have eschewed the idea of unfriendly rivals. Rather, they look more like big brother and little brother, the king and the heir apparent.

andre de grasse
Andre De Grasse competes in the men's 200m final, Aug.18, 2016. (Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

And a marketing dream for Puma. The athletic clothing and shoe company, which also sponsors Bolt, signed De Grasse this past winter to a deal worth US$11.25 million. With performance bonuses, it could climb to as much as US$30 million.

It was an eye-popping deal for the rising star who just two summers ago didn't qualify for the 200-metre final at the Commonwealth Games.

But he's risen up the global sprint ranks at a dizzying pace ever since — double gold at the NCAA championships, double gold at the Pan American Games, then bronze in the 100 and 4x100-metre relay at last summer's world championships.

He also became the first Canadian to run both a sub-10 100 and sub-20 200 metres.

andre de grasse
Usain Bolt looks over towards Andre De Grasse as he competes in the men's 200m final. (Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

De Grasse stumbled into track almost by accident when he accompanied a friend to a high school meet, and decided to race. A decent basketball player growing up — he still has the Raptors dinosaur logo painted in the bedroom of his childhood home — he famously won the 100 metres that afternoon wearing baggy basketball shorts and without using starting blocks.

De Grasse's spectacular runs under the bright lights of Olympic Stadium are all the more remarkable given the season he's had. He opted out of his senior season at USC, and moved to Phoenix just after Christmas to train with Canadian coach Stuart McMillan at Altis.

He arrived in Arizona beaten up from his busy college season, injuries that took him a good three months to overcome. And so he hadn't been sure how this summer would play out.

He needn't have worried at all.

Also on HuffPost:

Close
Canadian Medallists at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction