Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday August 16, 2016
Usain Bolt is a mentor and friend to Andre De Grasse
Andre De Grasse first had the chance to meet Usain Bolt when the Markham, Ont., native was getting set to run the anchor leg of Canada’s 4×100-metre relay team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
De Grasse, then 19, was too nervous to talk to the sprinting legend, and shied away from Bolt.
But times have certainly changed.
On Sunday night, Bolt won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100-metre sprint, crossing the line in 9.81 seconds, 8-100ths of a second ahead of American Justin Gatlin. De Grasse made his Olympic debut a memorable one, capturing bronze in a personal best of 9.91.
Afterwards, the two shared congratulations, much as they did while standing on the podium at the 2015 world championships.
Despite the rivalry, Bolt seems very genuine in his fondness of De Grasse, while the Canadian looks up to the Jamaican icon.
“We were just having some fun,” De Grasse said after Sunday’s final. “Me and Usain met back in January, we did a lot of things together.”
The two have gotten to know each other quite well over the last two years during meets and sponsored events — both are signed with apparel company Puma — and the Jamaican star sees a bright future ahead for the 21-year-old.
The friendship didn’t stop De Grasse from doing everything he could to usurp the now three-time Olympic champion. It didn’t happen in Rio, but a bronze medal in his Olympic debut has definitely caught Bolt’s eye.
“For me, it’s a big deal,” Bolt said of De Grasse’s performance. “To come third last year [at the world championships] and then this year, to come in an even better field to do the same again, that’s a big deal.”
Bolt said he expects Rio to be his final Olympics, though the 29-year-old wouldn’t rule out competing in Tokyo 2020.
If he doesn’t pursue a fourth 100-metre Olympic gold, he’ll most certainly have an eye out for his competitor-turned-friend. (Source: CBC)