De Grasse targets golden opportunity at Tokyo Games

OTTAWA: André De Grasse from Canada (Photo) does not dwell on the injuries that derailed most of two seasons but rather remains focused on the Tokyo Olympics where a golden opportunity awaits him given the notable absence of retired sprinter Usain Bolt .

This year will mark the first time since the 2004 Athens Games that a male athlete other than world record holder Bolt will become Olympic champion in the 100m or 200m.

“The main thing for me is not to get injured,” three-time Olympic medalist De Grasse told Reuters in a video interview. “If I can stay injury free and make it to the start line, I know I can accomplish great things.”

De Grasse became a household name after winning bronze in the 100m at the Rio 2016 Games, silver in the 200m and bronze in the 4x100m relay, making him the first Canadian athlete to win Olympic medals in all three sprint events.

He then missed most of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with right hamstring injuries, but overcame this period of adversity by winning bronze in the 100m and silver in the 200m at the 2019 world championships in Doha.

The long road back from injury, a stretch in which De Grasse said he had to overcome skeptics wondering if he would ever be the same sprinter, played a role in his arrival at the head of the mental health technology company in May as a resilience ambassador.

Now, with reigning 100m world champion Christian Coleman also out of Tokyo as he serves a ban for missing three drug tests over a 12-month period, De Grasse, 26, could have his better chance of winning the jewel of the Summer Games. .

“At the last Olympics I felt like I had a good chance of winning gold, these Olympics, I feel like I have a chance and I will probably repeat the same for the Olympics (2024 ). It’s just my state of mind, ”said De Grasse.

“I’m just a confident guy and I always feel like I can do better. I feel like I haven’t hit my peak yet, or people like to say my peak, I feel like I haven’t hit it yet. “

De Grasse, who said he enjoyed the bright lights and the pressure of the Olympic stage, got back in shape before July 23-August. 8 Tokyo Games where, according to him, very little separates all the best competitors.

“We’re all equally fast, we all have pretty much the same personal bests… but it’s really like you have to do it that day,” said De Grasse.

“This is the hardest part, and this is where a lot of pressure is put on people sometimes where they can’t run the run they want or they just don’t feel as good as they did when they did. have run this time before. “

Like many other athletes, De Grasse was first upset when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but he eventually returned and enjoyed the rare mental and physical break that that offered him.

As De Grasse trains six days a week in hopes of becoming the next sprint king, he is well aware that more serious things are at stake as Japan remains in a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

“It’s a little scary to hear on the news what’s going on in Tokyo but I try not to think about it,” De Grasse said.

“I try to keep an open mind and focus on what I can control and just hope things can improve by the time we’re ready to go.” – Reuters

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