De Grasse captures second title at Canadian championships
Long after Andre De Grasse had raced to his second victory at the Canadian track and field championships, the sprint star was still posing for pictures and signing autographs.
“I signed someone’s hand. Someone’s neck,” De Grasse laughed. “That was kind of weird when I signed someone’s neck.”
The triple medallist from last summer’s Rio Olympics raced to his first Canadian 200-metre title on Sunday, and second gold medal of the meet, sprinting to a slightly wind-aided time of 19.96 seconds. De Grasse won his third national 100 title on Friday.
The 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., was the headliner this week, and his star power was visible in the crowds that squeezed into the 6,500-seat Terry Fox Stadium. According to an Athletics Canada official, it was the biggest crowd the national meet has ever seen.
“I’m amazed and shocked that so many people want my autograph,” said De Grasse, estimating the number to be “probably hundreds, maybe thousands.”
“It’s a cool feeling for me, I’m just happy to see all the little kids’ faces light up every time I take a picture with them.”
De Grasse had some-60 friends and family members — all dressed in red De Grasse T-shirts — in attendance. They posed for a group photo. The photographer instructed them to “Say ‘De Grasse!’”
Sunday’s 200 was one of the meet’s highlights, featuring Canada’s three fastest sprinters in history in that distance — De Grasse, and Toronto’s Aaron Brown and Brendon Rodney.
Rodney was second in 20.02, while Brown crossed third in 20.13. De Grasse was pushed by the two around the bend, finally taking the lead down the straightaway.
Andre De Grasse reacts after winning gold in the men’s 200-metre race at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa on Sunday.