Being a Canadian 200m finalist in athletics is already a feat. An event that has not been seen for 93 years as two Canadians are on the starting line. Andre de Grosse and Aaron Brown have wonderfully qualified for the big meeting on Wednesday morning.
At 8:55 a.m. (Quebec time), the two Canadian sprinters set off at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The last time such an incident occurred was in 1928, when Percy Williams won gold and Johnny Fitzpatrick finished fifth.
Yesterday, Brown and De Grasse formalized their presence in the final by inviting through the front door.
“We have depth in Canada. We want to represent the maple leaf as best we can. I’m proud of that,” Brown told Radio-Canada after overcoming the distance in 19.99 seconds, the best time of his wave and the best time of the year.
In the case of de Grosse, there are no surprises. The 26-year-old Ontario finished second at the Rio Games in 2016 and finished at the same place at the 2019 World Championships.
The whole country therefore hopes for a medal. However, his brilliant performance in the semifinals provoked mass relief.
In qualifying, he finished third with a time of 20.56 seconds. In the semifinals, he turned on the turbo to set a Canadian record in 19.73 seconds.
When De Gross woke up he seemed very tired and the heat was high. The long sleep made her husband laugh!
“I felt better when I woke up,” he said.
“I did not expect this Canadian record. My trainer pushed me 150 meters and told me to see what it was. Eventually I saw on my left that I was American. [Kenneth Bednarek] I’m still there, so I gave it a shot, ”he told the CBC.
It remains to be seen if De Gross’s new power can lead him back on the podium. In general, at the end of last week, the country’s leading sprinter also invested a good amount in the 100m event to win a bronze medal.
“I’m so happy to be breaking my record. It’s been five years since I did this. I still feel like I have my 200m legs. I’m ready for tomorrow. [aujourd’hui] He said this in a statement aired by Athletics Canada.
In Brown’s case, it was his first personal career final.
“I pushed hard for the first 40 or 50 meters. Then I stayed relaxed. I didn’t even know I had won. I wanted to qualify for the final,” he said.
The 29-year-old Torontonian is still accustomed to great moments, being part of the bronze medalist 4x100m relay team in Rio.
Quebec Athletics shareholders believe it is possible to salute the presence of two Canadians in the 200-meter final and dream of two medals.
“If they’re lucky, Canadians can finish 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 3rd,” said recently retired coach Daniel Saint-Hiller, who has worked in the field for nearly 50 years.
He has worked with Bruni Surin, Nicolas Macrosonaris, Alain Metellus and Charles Lefrancois, who believes de Gross will be on the podium if disaster does not happen. Aaron Brown should not be overlooked.
“Brown is still the most genetically gifted athlete. He won medals at the World Junior Championships. He was always the best in the world at his age and there he broke.”
An American to watch
“There was one man to beat de Grosse and he was American [Kenneth Bednarek]. He runs relaxed so he can defend himself for the final. In the case of Brown, it becomes harder. I think he gave a lot in the semifinals, ”he believes.
For Saint-Hiller, de Gross’s great background in major events provides its reason.
“Games are stressful. A person who is capable of doing Cold And is likely to remain calm. From Grossey, we will not talk about his first games. He has always won medals in major competitions. That’s one Gamer. He will increase his level of play by a large share, ”he explained.
Good performance in sight
For Felix-Antoine Lapoint, coach of the Quebec athletics team, there is no doubt that having two Canadians allows you to have a great moment.
“It’s really impressive, especially since we’re not talking about Canadians who have extra roles. They did very well in the semi – finals. It’s exciting and important to know that Canadians are there,” he said.
Like Saint-Hiller, he is confident that de Grasse will enjoy the medal.
“Color has to be seen. We want him gold, even if it doesn’t take much. Anything can happen and we saw it with Italian [Lamont Marcell Jacobs] He carefully recalled that no one had made it to the 100-meter final.
If the performances of the two Canadians are equal, it will only benefit the sport in the country.
“It’s inspiring for Canadian athletics and it brings a new generation of runners,” Lapoint said.