Although once-in-a-generation icons like Usain Bolt would suggest otherwise, sprinting really is a career with a short lifespan.
Champions tend to come and go in the blink of an eye – fitting, perhaps, given how quickly they run – with the physical demands of running at staggering speeds, not to mention the sacrifices it takes to get to, and stay at, the top of the sport, proving difficult to maintain over an extended period of time.
But for Andre De Grasse, motivation and desire are not in short supply after his 2022 campaign – which has featured injury, illness and hampered performances – has effectively been wiped out.
The 27-year-old suffered a debilitating foot injury earlier in the year which prevented him from training appropriately for the summer campaign, while a brush with illness – which left the Canadian suffering from shortness of breath – saw him struggle at the World Athletics Championships and withdraw from the Commonwealth Games.
Andre De Grasse leads Canadian men to 4x100m gold at World Championshipshttps://t.co/Iqy9JS71Wj
— CP24 (@CP24) July 24, 2022
It’s not been a complete blowout – De Grasse ran the anchor leg as the Canadian 4x100m relay team won gold at the Worlds, but on an individual level the six-time Olympic medallist feels that he has plenty to make up for in 2023.
“To be honest, it’s been a struggle,” De Grasse said when reflecting upon his season with CBC. “I don’t feel like I have like 100% of my energy back.”
The 27-year-old has suggested that he is prepared to write off 2022, rest and recover and come back stronger next year, revealing his desire to ‘start feeling like myself again.’
Back to his best
The ultimate goal will be the World Championships in Budapest next August, for which De Grasse – if fit – would surely be amongst the favorites for those engaging in online betting Canada from home. Although athletics isn’t the most wagered-upon sport in North America, the bookmakers do tend to offer odds for the big events like the Worlds, and the Canadian will be expected to be a frontrunner in the 100m and 200m markets if he can recapture former glories.
His best time in the 100m would have taken him very close to gold at the 2022 Worlds, which Fred Kerley won in 9.86, while in the 200m – which is arguably De Grasse’s stronger events – he would have pushed the outstanding Noah Lyles very hard.
WORLD CHAMPION ‼️@fkerley99 🇺🇸 storms to 9.86 to strike 100m 🥇 in front of a roaring home crowd 👏
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) July 17, 2022
His 200m win at the Tokyo Olympics was the first time that Canada had struck gold in the event in almost a century, but the self-titled ‘middle-aged sprinter’ has plans to be back on the podium in Paris in 2024. “I want to be healthy for the Olympic Games, because it could potentially be my last,” he said earlier this year.
And only the most reckless would wager against him doing exactly that. De Grasse has finished inside the medal places in every single Olympic or World Championship final he has appeared in – six of them, to be precise, and this is a speedster who clearly thrives in the spotlight. “I love competing on the big stage in front of the big crowds when it’s all on the line,” he told the official Olympics website.
He may be something of an elder statesman in sprint racing even at a sprightly 27, but De Grasse will surely have a spring in his step as he enters 2023 fitter and stronger than he has been in some time.