Andre De Grasse eyeing more gold at Paris 2024 with improved starts

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Canada's Andre De Grasse celebrates his gold medal in the men's 200 metres at the Tokyo Olympics. The Canadian is hoping to add more of the same at Paris 2024 with improved starts. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Canada's Andre De Grasse celebrates his gold medal in the men's 200 metres at the Tokyo Olympics. The Canadian is hoping to add more of the same at Paris 2024 with improved starts. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The most decorated male Canadian Olympian of all-time is eyeing even more hardware.

Sprinter Andre De Grasse won three medals at Tokyo 2020, including his first career gold in the 200 metres. The haul brought him up to six Olympic podium appearances for his career — more than any Canadian man before him.

Still just 26, De Grasse told CBC Sports' Jacqueline Doorey on Thursday that improving his starts was a key focus ahead of the world championships in 2022 and Paris Olympics two years later.

"I know I have good speed endurance but my main objective is to have a good start. If I have a good start, that would be the difference between me winning a gold medal or a bronze medal," De Grasse said.

WATCH | De Grasse on improving his starts:

The Markham, Ont., native was speaking at Father McGivney High School in his hometown, where he presented the charity Kids Help Phone with a $25,000 donation stemming from his virtual 'RACE WITH ME' challenge at the beginning of 2021.

De Grasse additionally took bronze in the 100m and men's 4x100m relay in Tokyo. Both podium appearances were repeats of his Rio 2016 performance, where he also earned 200m silver.

Preparations for his third Olympics in Paris have already begun.

"I'm getting excited, I'm getting pumped already to perform there. I think I'll be there, I'll be still young, I'll be 29 years old there so I feel like I got another shot at another Olympics and to contend for another gold medal," De Grasse said.

WATCH | De Grasse discusses charity initiative:

Busy post-Olympics schedule

De Grasse is just now getting the chance to relax and soak in his first Olympic gold medal. In the weeks following the Games, he ran a 9.74-second 100-metre dash to win the esteemed Prefontaine Classic, a time that would have broken Donovan Bailey's Canadian record were it not wind-aided.

De Grasse then earned a pair of second-place finishes in the 100m and 200m in the Diamond League Final in Zurich before capping his season with one final 100m victory in Switzerland over American stars Justin Gatlin and Fred Kerley.

It all means the Canadian has just recently entered his off-season.

"I'm still on this high and I haven't really come down from it, but it's been really fun. I've been enjoying this whole ride and enjoying this momentum and I just can't wait to get back on the track again," he said.

WATCH | Bring It In panel discusses De Grasse's dominant season:

De Grasse said one of the biggest revelations of his return from Tokyo was hearing from fellow Canadians who watched his races with family and friends and told him how much his success resonated back home.

"I couldn't believe how much that gold medal meant to not just me but to them as well. It was just really fun, it was exciting and I hope to bring some more gold medals in the future," he said.

His next opportunity to reach a podium comes at worlds in Eugene, Ore., in July 2022. Then the Olympics two years later.

For now, though, De Grasse will steal a brief moment to revel in his Tokyo accomplishments.

"It really just showed my perseverance, it showed all my hard work and dedication and I'm really just proud of myself for being able to accomplish that and make my dreams come true."

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