Canada's Andre De Grasse feeling rejuvenated after meeting 100m Olympic standard

MONTREAL — Rejuvenated by a recent performance, Andre De Grasse is confident he can still outrun the best in the world at this summer’s Paris Olympics.

“I'm feeling like my old self again,” the decorated Canadian sprinter said Wednesday at Claude-Robillard sports complex. "I'm starting to get back my speed.”

De Grasse enters the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic track and field trials after running a season-best 10.00 seconds at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, last week to meet the 100-metre entry standard for the Paris Games.

It was De Grasse’s fastest time since September 2021, when he ran the 100 in 9.89 seconds at the Diamond League final.

The six-time Olympic medallist hasn’t posted a sub-10-second time since, but hopes to change that at the trials, which run Wednesday through Sunday.

“It's my fastest time in three years, since 2021, so that's always a good confidence booster to say, 'OK, now I'm starting to find my speed back,'” De Grasse said of his performance in Finland. “I know if I have a great start, my top-end speed is there and I'll definitely be able to compete with everyone.

"Last week, Finland kind of just proved to me that I'm coming back, I'm finding my form. Friday night, I'm looking forward to just trying to improve on that."

De Grasse, who won gold in the 200 and bronze in the 100 at the Tokyo Games in 2021, will try to win the men's 100 final Friday.

The 29-year-old from Markham, Ont., is focusing his energy on the 100 and won't compete in the 200 event this week, but intends to defend his Olympic title in Paris.

"My coach and I just were like, let's try to focus on getting that speed back," he said. "If I get the speed back, the 200 becomes a lot easier for me."

A strong Canadian team of world and Olympic champions are competing this week.

Hammer-throwing world champions Camryn Rogers and Ethan Katzberg kicked off the trials Wednesday. World champion decathlete Pierce LePage is absent with a medical exemption, but reigning Olympic champion Damian Warner is taking part in three events. Marco Arop, the 800 world champion, is also an athlete to watch this week.

But De Grasse could still steal the spotlight. He's Canada’s most decorated male Summer Games athlete with six career Olympic medals (one gold, two silver, three bronze) — and he’s hoping to add to that haul this summer.

"I just rely on my experience. It's good that I have two Olympic Games under my belt,” said De Grasse, who has a history of peaking at major events. “There's not going to be no star-struck, I know the lights are going to be bright and I love that.”

Rising star Audrey Leduc signed autographs next to De Grasse on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old from Gatineau, Que., set Canadian records in the women's 100 and 200 metres this year. Despite reaching the Olympic qualifying standards, she doesn’t intend to let up with friends and family coming to watch her race this week.

"I don't think you can push too hard on a track," she said. "The faster you run on a track, the faster the next race will be in my opinion."

Leduc also helped Canada qualify for the women’s 4x100 relay last month, running a 10.18 in the third leg at the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas.

“I'm excited for her,” De Grasse said. “I saw her in Bahamas, she helped them qualify for the 4x100-metre relay, we haven't done that since 2016 on the woman's side.

“It's just incredible to see her progression and what she's been able to accomplish.”

Athletics Canada will announce the Canadian team on July 2. The Paris Games begin July 26.


Leduc ran the 100 in 11.00 seconds last week at La Classique d’athlétisme in Montreal. The meet took place at the Ben Leduc Athletics Track after extreme heat in Montreal damaged recent repairs to the track at Claude-Robillard.

After more repairs, Athletics Canada said the trials would go on as planned at Claude-Robillard this week.

“Last week pollen was sticking to the track, so it was white instead of red,” Leduc said. “It looks better now.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2024.

Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press