Andre De Grasse will be missed at the World Championships

Andre De Grasse will miss the 2017 World Championships after straining his hamstring

Andre De Grasse will be missed at the World Championships
De Grasse was expected to challenge Usain Bolt (photo: Getty Images/Patrick Smith)

News broke on Wednesday that Andre De Grasse had pulled out of the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, after suffering a hamstring strain in training. 

The Canadian, who was scheduled to compete in the 100, 200m and 4x100m relay, has been ruled out for six weeks with a grade 2 strain. 

De Grasse's injury is a huge blow for the Championships, as the 22-year-old was set to go head to head with Usain Bolt, in the Jamaican's final major Championships.

"The entire year this 100m race in London was my focus. I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world," De Grasse commented. 

Who is Andre De Grasse?

Born in OntarioCanada, Andre De Grasse didn't take up sprinting until he was 17-years old. His mother was a high school sprinter in Trinidad and Tobago but young De Grasse did not want to follow in his mother's footsteps initially. De Grasse's ambition growing up was to play in the NBA.

De Grasse stands at just 5'9 and weighs only 70kg. In high school, De Grasse was told he was too small to play basketball before he took up sprinting in the eleventh grade.

Raw Ability

De Grasse was wearing his basketball shorts when he ran 10.9, in his first competitive race - or so the story goes. It was a standing start but 1984 Olympic 4x100m bronze medalist, Tony Sharpe, spotted him at the time. Sharpe took the onus to mentor and coach the youngster in his formative years.

Under Sharpe's tutelage, De Grasse quickly found success as he took gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100m at the 2013 Canada Games. 

Due to his late start, De Grasse did not garner much attention from colleges when he graduated from high school. The Ontario native did attend Junior College, however, as De Grasse went to JUCO in Kansas. After a successful two years at Coffeyville CC, de Grasse transferred to the University of Southern California for his junior year.

Trayvon Bromell rivalry

2015, De Grasse's junior year in college, proved to be the start of a rivalry with Trayvon Bromell. Bromell had a very different start to his career, compared to his adeversary.

Bromell is the only high school athlete to break the 10-second barrier and his 9.84 as a 19-year-old is the quickest by a teenager - even quicker than Bolt. 

Bromell attended Baylor, the college athletics powerhouse, and the sprinters came face to face in the 2015 NCAA Championships. De Grasse had already dipped under 10 seconds in 2015, whilst Bromell had an unofficial time of 9.77 from the previous year. 

De Grasse defeated his rival with a time of 9.75 to win the 100m gold and then, just 45 minutes later, De Grasse completed the double with a wind assisted time of 19.58 in the 200m.

"So I ask myself...world champion? Olympic champion? Why not me?" he exclaimed following his double. 

De Grasse was the first athlete to win the NCAA Championship double, since Walter Dix. Despite overcoming the much heralded Bromell,  the Bromell-De Grasse rivalry was only just beginning. 

De Grasse would go on to win gold in the 100 and 200m at the Pan American Games before the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

The 2015 World Championships  

Coming into the 2015 World Championships, there was a growing buzz about De Grasse and Bromell. The Canadian was mentored by Bolt and the American by countryman Justin Gatlin.

De Grasse and Bromell ran sub-10 in all three rounds of the 100m. Bromell ran an official 9.84 in the heats, making him the quickest teenager ever.  

The 100m final saw Bolt and Gatlin finish one-two, whilst the two youngsters tied for bronze. In a proverbial passing of the torch, both youngsters clocked 9.92 on their way to a podium finish. 

The future of the sport

 Dubbed as of the "future of the sport", the youngsters quickly secured their financial future.  

De Grasse signed with Bolt's longtime sponsors, Puma, whilst Bromell signed with Bolt's long time agent, Ricky Sims. Keying into Bolt's off-track success was imperative for the youngsters, who were still yet to graduate from college.

Chosen by Puma to be the man to replace Bolt, De Grasse’s agency revealed the multi-year deal was worth roughly $11.25 million. The incentive laden nature of the deal could see the figure balloon to $30 million.

Andre Arm

De Grasse has an unusual running motion, that has drawn much attention. His late arrival to athletics may be the reason his technique is a little wayward. The Canadian pumps his right arm out in an unconventional manner, similar to France's Christophe Lemaitre

The motion is deemed particularly problematic on the bend in the 200m. However, the technique clearly doesn't hinder De Grasse, whose resume speaks for himself.

The 22-year-old is the first Canadian to run sub-10 seconds in the 100m and the sub-20 seconds in the 200m. The motion is dubbed 'Andre Arm'. 

Bolt has stated that De Grasse runs similarly to him, in style, not technique. Bolt compared their slow starts and that they both have excellent top speed. “He’s slow out the blocks, but when he gets going, he gets going," Bolt stated.

The relationship with Bolt

The first encounter between Bolt and De Grasse was at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow. The pair lined up in the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay. Bolt blew past the then 19-year-old, on his way to gold. The youngster was so starstruck,  he couldn't muster up the courage to talk to the Jamaican. 

Following the 100m final at the 2015 world championships, Bolt interrupted an interview De Grasse was having. The 100 and 200m world record holder congratulated the then 20-year-old. Bolt admitted he didn't know who De Grasse was but said "he did a great job"

Bolt and De Grasse's relationship was going without a hitch and they were dubbed 'DeBolt'. After mentoring the Canadian and propping him up as the heir to his throne, DeBolt's relationship has soured since last year's Olympics, in Rio

De Grasse claimed bronze in the 100m at the Olympics, once again behind Bolt and Gatlin, respectively. However, the main talking point was the semi finals of the 200m.  

The Young Pretender

De Grasse and Bolt lined up alongside each other for the semi-finals. De Grasse was typically slow out of the blocks and around the bend but kicked it into gear over the last 60m, pushing Bolt whilst doing so. The pair shared a laugh and a joke as they crossed the line, with Bolt prevailing once again. De Grasse set a new Candian record of 19.80 in the race. 

That race would mark De Grasse's big statement on a global stage. Bolt would win gold, as De Grasse took silver in the final. 

It was thought to have been a friendly affair. However, Bolt did not like the Canadian's actions. With it being a semi-final, Bolt felt De Grasse pushed too hard and tried to disrespect the Jamaican by beating him in the preliminaries. 

Then, just last month, De Grasse's coach, Stuart McMillan, claimed that Bolt had the Canadian booted out of the Monaco Diamon League event. A claim, Bolt refutes.

Bolt was recently quizzed on who he thinks will replace him at the top of the sprinting world.

"The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me," was Bolt's response. 

De Grasse has come into the year in good form with 9.64 wind assisted. This was supposed to be where De Grasse give Bolt his toughest challenge. An ageing body versus a rising superstar. The young Canadian will rue this missed chance but will have opportunities to redeem himself, if he remains focused. 
 


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