Rosie DiManno: Olympic bronze is cool, but Andre De Grasse — Canada’s first male medallist in Tokyo — might be just getting started

TOKYO—Some day, that thick chain Andre De Grasse always wears around his neck will be swinging a hunka-chunka gold. Just you wait.Perchance Wednesday, after the sprinting ace from Markham, Ont. races the 200 metres that is his stronger distance. For now, he must content himself — and delighted indeed he was Sunday night — with being the third-fastest 100-metre man.A repeat bronze for the whippet whiz, Rio through Tokyo, 21-year-old upstart to 26-year-old venerable, in a contest that had nearly as much chaos as thrill, bewilderment as buzz. And no ready explanation for how a “who he?” Italian rocketed out of nowhere to top of the podium in the Olympic marquee event: Lamont Marcell Jacobs from that famous renaissance city, er, El Paso, Texas.Inquiring minds are … dubious.The question was actually put to De Grasse in the mixed zone afterward: Who is Jacobs? “Yeah, I don’t know.”It’s a small fraternity, the men who habitually run sub-10 seconds. Theirs is an intimate mutual awareness across global competitions, the usual suspects of track blazers. Jacobs — born in the United States to an Italian mother, son of a basketballer father, raised in Italy — is a bullet-headed, brawny, biker-tattooed long jumper turned sprinter who had the race of his life, powering through the last 30 metres and into Olympic renown with a championship time of 9.80.Also, into the arms of ecstatically gonzo compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who’d just co-won the men’s high jump with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and had been deliriously wandering around Olympic Stadium, hugging anyone who crossed his path. Tamberi and Barshim had both failed to clear 2.39 metres, had identical records in the competition and, after consultation, agreed to share the gold rather than go for a jump-off decider.But that’s a different story and we’re going to stay in the 100-metre lane for this one.De Grasse, who posted a personal-best 9.89, a blink of an eye behind silver medallist Fred Kerley of the U.S. at 9.84, had figured the Americans would be the rivals to beat — even with Trayvon Bromell, fastest man this year (ran 9.77 in June) stunningly absent from the final, failing to advance out of his semifinal for which he’d qualified only as one of the two fastest losers.“I felt like my main competition would be the Americans,” said De Grasse, still cocooned in the Canadian flag he’d grabbed for a victory lap. “I knew the Americans were gonna bring it. So that really shocked me and surprised me.”Ditto, oh, the planet.Ditto, wherever on the planet he is, world champion Christian Coleman, banned from Tokyo for a doping offence — failed three whereabouts tests and is track-non-grata for 18 months.“Really, congrats to him,” De Grasse verbally high-fived Jacobs. “He did his thing, he came out of the blue. I’m really proud of him. Just really shows that our sport is pulling in a good direction, because you never know who’s gonna be able to win. Any one of us can win on any given night.”Just as soon as he gets a better handle on who dat, the Italian.“I think that was my first time racing him, so definitely didn’t game plan for him. It was my first time talking to him. I’m not sure how much English he knows. We were talking a little bit, but he’s Italian so he speaks Italian. But yeah, definitely will be probably talking in the future.”Puzzlement from Kerley, too: “I really don’t know anything about him.”Here’s the thing: Jacobs was a distant 19th at the last worlds two years ago, 11th at the European championships in 2018. His personal best before Sunday was 9.95; before 2021, 10.03. Suddenly he’s the successor to Usain Bolt. Vegas had him at a 30-1 underdog.Remarkable. Extraordinary. Sensational.Curious.As gobsmackingly out of sprint character as, say, China’s Su Bingtian blasting into the final off a torrid Asian-record 9.83 in his semi. (He’d finish sixth.)And did we mention the two Brits who got the DQ heave for false starting? Zharnel Hughes in the final, shame-faced as he departed, and Reece Prescod in his semi, which was also De Grasse’s semi.De Grasse actually was slick-quick out of the blocks in the final start that got banged. It rattled him, the do-over, particularly when a technical problem on the reset created a considerably delay: “I feel like the first false start, I was ready to go. But of course when you have so many false starts you’re a little bit tentative.” Sluggish starts are De Grasse’s weak point, if any of his racing oeuvre can be described as a weakness. “You get a little nervous, like, I don’t want to false start. But I tried to execute the best I can. I mean, I didn’t really have a good semifinal (9.98, compared to his blistering heat time of 9.91), so my legs didn’t come to me till late.”Definitely the coolest looking cat in the starting block, though, with his hip shades. De Grasse wears his sunglasses at night.“So, it set me up in a bad lane.” Nine. “I’m like, OK, I can’t think about that. I’m in Lane 9, I’ve just got to go out there and exec

Rosie DiManno: Olympic bronze is cool, but Andre De Grasse — Canada’s first male medallist in Tokyo — might be just getting started

TOKYO—Some day, that thick chain Andre De Grasse always wears around his neck will be swinging a hunka-chunka gold. Just you wait.

Perchance Wednesday, after the sprinting ace from Markham, Ont. races the 200 metres that is his stronger distance. For now, he must content himself — and delighted indeed he was Sunday night — with being the third-fastest 100-metre man.

A repeat bronze for the whippet whiz, Rio through Tokyo, 21-year-old upstart to 26-year-old venerable, in a contest that had nearly as much chaos as thrill, bewilderment as buzz. And no ready explanation for how a “who he?” Italian rocketed out of nowhere to top of the podium in the Olympic marquee event: Lamont Marcell Jacobs from that famous renaissance city, er, El Paso, Texas.

Inquiring minds are … dubious.

The question was actually put to De Grasse in the mixed zone afterward: Who is Jacobs? “Yeah, I don’t know.”

It’s a small fraternity, the men who habitually run sub-10 seconds. Theirs is an intimate mutual awareness across global competitions, the usual suspects of track blazers. Jacobs — born in the United States to an Italian mother, son of a basketballer father, raised in Italy — is a bullet-headed, brawny, biker-tattooed long jumper turned sprinter who had the race of his life, powering through the last 30 metres and into Olympic renown with a championship time of 9.80.

Also, into the arms of ecstatically gonzo compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who’d just co-won the men’s high jump with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and had been deliriously wandering around Olympic Stadium, hugging anyone who crossed his path. Tamberi and Barshim had both failed to clear 2.39 metres, had identical records in the competition and, after consultation, agreed to share the gold rather than go for a jump-off decider.

But that’s a different story and we’re going to stay in the 100-metre lane for this one.

De Grasse, who posted a personal-best 9.89, a blink of an eye behind silver medallist Fred Kerley of the U.S. at 9.84, had figured the Americans would be the rivals to beat — even with Trayvon Bromell, fastest man this year (ran 9.77 in June) stunningly absent from the final, failing to advance out of his semifinal for which he’d qualified only as one of the two fastest losers.

“I felt like my main competition would be the Americans,” said De Grasse, still cocooned in the Canadian flag he’d grabbed for a victory lap. “I knew the Americans were gonna bring it. So that really shocked me and surprised me.”

Ditto, oh, the planet.

Ditto, wherever on the planet he is, world champion Christian Coleman, banned from Tokyo for a doping offence — failed three whereabouts tests and is track-non-grata for 18 months.

“Really, congrats to him,” De Grasse verbally high-fived Jacobs. “He did his thing, he came out of the blue. I’m really proud of him. Just really shows that our sport is pulling in a good direction, because you never know who’s gonna be able to win. Any one of us can win on any given night.”

Just as soon as he gets a better handle on who dat, the Italian.

“I think that was my first time racing him, so definitely didn’t game plan for him. It was my first time talking to him. I’m not sure how much English he knows. We were talking a little bit, but he’s Italian so he speaks Italian. But yeah, definitely will be probably talking in the future.”

Puzzlement from Kerley, too: “I really don’t know anything about him.”

Here’s the thing: Jacobs was a distant 19th at the last worlds two years ago, 11th at the European championships in 2018. His personal best before Sunday was 9.95; before 2021, 10.03. Suddenly he’s the successor to Usain Bolt. Vegas had him at a 30-1 underdog.

Remarkable. Extraordinary. Sensational.

Curious.

As gobsmackingly out of sprint character as, say, China’s Su Bingtian blasting into the final off a torrid Asian-record 9.83 in his semi. (He’d finish sixth.)

And did we mention the two Brits who got the DQ heave for false starting? Zharnel Hughes in the final, shame-faced as he departed, and Reece Prescod in his semi, which was also De Grasse’s semi.

De Grasse actually was slick-quick out of the blocks in the final start that got banged. It rattled him, the do-over, particularly when a technical problem on the reset created a considerably delay: “I feel like the first false start, I was ready to go. But of course when you have so many false starts you’re a little bit tentative.”

Sluggish starts are De Grasse’s weak point, if any of his racing oeuvre can be described as a weakness. “You get a little nervous, like, I don’t want to false start. But I tried to execute the best I can. I mean, I didn’t really have a good semifinal (9.98, compared to his blistering heat time of 9.91), so my legs didn’t come to me till late.”

Definitely the coolest looking cat in the starting block, though, with his hip shades. De Grasse wears his sunglasses at night.

“So, it set me up in a bad lane.” Nine. “I’m like, OK, I can’t think about that. I’m in Lane 9, I’ve just got to go out there and execute.”

Didn’t even clock it when the fellow next to him, Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke, pulled up some 30 metres in with what looked like a pulled hamstring: “Oh, I didn’t even notice. I was looking at Fred and the Italian guy because I was trying to see how far they were from me.”

In fact, De Grasse was last out of the gate and stayed there through most of the first 50; looked well out of medal contention until the 60-metre mark, when he thrust forcefully, surging down the stretch. He just ran out of runway, lunging at the line.

It might have been a different story had there been a crowd of roaring spectators, but that was the equal playing field for all the racers, the echoing silence.

“Yeah, it was different,” said the Canadian. “To be honest, it was really tough for me because I really thrive off of the crowd. It gets me going. I really try to pump myself up any way I can. Like, listen to music, try to talk to myself, tell myself, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ I’m used to hearing that, the crowd noise. I thought there would have been a little bit more of, like, fake crowd noise or something.”

Didn’t make no never mind for the triumphant Jacobs, who said he’d been motivated — jacked — by Tamberi’s victory on what was an unprecedent night of track glory for Italy. Jacobs revealed that on the eve of Super Sunday, he and Tamberi had fantasized aloud about going double gold as they hunkered over their PlayStation. They agreed it was too crazy to ever happen.

“It is amazing, it is fantastic, it is a dream,’’ Jacobs crowed. “Olympic champion in the 100. I have no words.”

But he’s Italian, so he did.

“I didn’t look right, I didn’t look left. I just focused on running as fast as possible. I wasn’t the favourite, but my start was great. Then I had this burst of speed. I thought I could run 9.79, but I was happy with 9.8.”

The Olympic record, owned by Bolt, is 9.63. The world record, owned by Bolt, is 9.58.

“It is a gold medal. It is forever.”

For De Grasse, the 100 bronze sets him up splendidly for the 200, where he’s the defending silver medallist.

“Tonight, kind of just got to go back, recover. Probably won’t get much sleep tonight, but I have a day off. So try to sleep more tomorrow and do a little bit moving around, make sure I don’t get too sore so I can be fresh again for the 200, get myself mentally prepared for that.”

The bronze was Canada’s 14th medal at Tokyo 2020 and the first copped by a Canadian male.

“I didn’t even realize that. That’s cool.”

Rosie DiManno is a Toronto-based columnist covering sports and current affairs for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno

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Tokyo Olympics Day 10: Andre De Grasse is Canada’s first male medallist this summer; U.S. shot-putter delivers first political demonstration on the podium

12:24 p.m.: Toronto sisters Lucia Stafford and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford will both move onto the women’s 1,500-metre semifinals after placing seventh and eighth in the qualifying round, respectively.Lucia set a personal best with a time of 4:03.52.11:50 p.m.: Atsushi Muramatsu’s handmade flyers are the size of a business card, written in several languages. “Welcome to Miyagi Stadium,“ one reads. ”The gymnasium next door was the largest morgue for tsunami victims.”Over a decade after the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, the Tokyo Games were supposed to offer a chance to showcase how much has been rebuilt. They were even billed as the “Recovery and Reconstruction Games,“ and the Olympic torch relay started from Fukushima prefecture, the heart of the nuclear disaster area.But the coronavirus pandemic means few spectators are coming to any of the Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, being held here. That leaves some Olympic volunteers having to find their own ways to recount their experiences to those rare fans who pass through, as well as members of the media.11:12 p.m. (Updated): In the morning, Raven Saunders of the United States captured the silver medal in the shot put.At night, Saunders delivered the first political demonstration on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics when she raised her arms and crossed them in the shape of an “X” after receiving her medal, setting the stage for a standoff between the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic leaders. 10:03 p.m.: World champion Sifan Hassan made an incredible recovery from a fall at the final bell to win her 1,500-meter heat at the Olympics on Monday.Hassan picked herself up after getting in a tangle with Kenyan runner Edinah Jebitok at the start of the last lap. She sped around the outside of the pack on the back straight and ended up crossing the line first in 4 minutes, 5.17 seconds to qualify for the semifinals.It kept alive the Dutch runner's bid for a rare distance-running treble at the Tokyo Games.9:47 p.m.: Canada has sent its second team to the quarterfinals of the women's beach volleyball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.Toronto's Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., downed Spain's Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan 2-0 in a round of 16 match on Monday.The Canadians overpowered the duo from Spain 21-13, 21-13.8:50 p.m.: Sydney Pickrem proved some Olympians are just like us after winning her first medal as part of the women’s 4x100-metre medley relay Sunday.The 24-year-old Canadian-American doesn’t specialize in the breaststroke — she typically swims the individual medley — but stepped up as Canada’s second swimmer in the pool. Kylie Masse opened with the backstroke and Pickrem’s role was to keep Canada in contention so that Maggie Mac Neil and Penny Oleksiak could close things out in the butterfly and freestyle legs.Catch up on Olympic notables with Laura Armstrong: Now streaming from Tokyo: Canadian swimmers say the darndest things8:35 p.m.: Micah Christenson gave coach John Speraw a long, tearful embrace as his U.S. men’s volleyball teammates slumped on the floor and the victorious Argentinians celebrated.Instead of building on the bronze medal won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, the Americans are going home early from the Olympics for the first time in more than 20 years.7:00 p.m. Some day, that thick chain Andre De Grasse always wears around his neck will be swinging a hunka-chunka gold. Just you wait.Perchance Wednesday, after the sprinting ace from Markham, Ont. races the 200 metres that is his stronger distance. For now, he must content himself — and delighted indeed he was Sunday night — with being the third-fastest 100-metre man.The latest from the Star’s Rosie DiManno in Tokyo: Olympic bronze is cool, but Andre De Grasse — Canada’s first male medallist in Tokyo — might be just getting started11:00 a.m.: On Tokyo Daily, host Brendan Dunlop talks with the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk in Tokyo after Andre De Grasse’s bronze medal run in the men’s 100-metre dash.Watch the latest Tokyo Daily: Team Canada learning you win some, you lose some at the Olympics10:15 a.m.: US shot putter Raven “Hulk” Saunders raised her arms in an “X” gesture upon mounting the podium to receive her silver medal in women’s shot put.She said the demonstration signified “the intersection of where all oppressed people meet.”The IOC has strict rules against podium protests. No disciplinary actions have yet been announced against Saunders.10:10 a.m.: A Belarus track sprinter alleged her Olympic team tried to remove her from Japan in a dispute that led to a standoff Sunday evening at Tokyo’s main airport.An activist group supporting Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she believed her life was in danger in Belarus and would seek asylum with the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo.10:00 a.m.: If grasping the many nuances of Olympic-level sailing requires years spent in a boat learning to read the whims o

Tokyo Olympics Day 10: Andre De Grasse is Canada’s first male medallist this summer; U.S. shot-putter delivers first political demonstration on the podium

12:24 p.m.: Toronto sisters Lucia Stafford and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford will both move onto the women’s 1,500-metre semifinals after placing seventh and eighth in the qualifying round, respectively.

Lucia set a personal best with a time of 4:03.52.

11:50 p.m.: Atsushi Muramatsu’s handmade flyers are the size of a business card, written in several languages. “Welcome to Miyagi Stadium,“ one reads. ”The gymnasium next door was the largest morgue for tsunami victims.”

Over a decade after the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, the Tokyo Games were supposed to offer a chance to showcase how much has been rebuilt. They were even billed as the “Recovery and Reconstruction Games,“ and the Olympic torch relay started from Fukushima prefecture, the heart of the nuclear disaster area.

But the coronavirus pandemic means few spectators are coming to any of the Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, being held here. That leaves some Olympic volunteers having to find their own ways to recount their experiences to those rare fans who pass through, as well as members of the media.

11:12 p.m. (Updated): In the morning, Raven Saunders of the United States captured the silver medal in the shot put.

At night, Saunders delivered the first political demonstration on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics when she raised her arms and crossed them in the shape of an “X” after receiving her medal, setting the stage for a standoff between the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic leaders.

10:03 p.m.: World champion Sifan Hassan made an incredible recovery from a fall at the final bell to win her 1,500-meter heat at the Olympics on Monday.

Hassan picked herself up after getting in a tangle with Kenyan runner Edinah Jebitok at the start of the last lap. She sped around the outside of the pack on the back straight and ended up crossing the line first in 4 minutes, 5.17 seconds to qualify for the semifinals.

It kept alive the Dutch runner's bid for a rare distance-running treble at the Tokyo Games.

9:47 p.m.: Canada has sent its second team to the quarterfinals of the women's beach volleyball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

Toronto's Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., downed Spain's Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan 2-0 in a round of 16 match on Monday.

The Canadians overpowered the duo from Spain 21-13, 21-13.

8:50 p.m.: Sydney Pickrem proved some Olympians are just like us after winning her first medal as part of the women’s 4x100-metre medley relay Sunday.

The 24-year-old Canadian-American doesn’t specialize in the breaststroke — she typically swims the individual medley — but stepped up as Canada’s second swimmer in the pool. Kylie Masse opened with the backstroke and Pickrem’s role was to keep Canada in contention so that Maggie Mac Neil and Penny Oleksiak could close things out in the butterfly and freestyle legs.

Catch up on Olympic notables with Laura Armstrong: Now streaming from Tokyo: Canadian swimmers say the darndest things

8:35 p.m.: Micah Christenson gave coach John Speraw a long, tearful embrace as his U.S. men’s volleyball teammates slumped on the floor and the victorious Argentinians celebrated.

Instead of building on the bronze medal won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, the Americans are going home early from the Olympics for the first time in more than 20 years.

7:00 p.m. Some day, that thick chain Andre De Grasse always wears around his neck will be swinging a hunka-chunka gold. Just you wait.

Perchance Wednesday, after the sprinting ace from Markham, Ont. races the 200 metres that is his stronger distance. For now, he must content himself — and delighted indeed he was Sunday night — with being the third-fastest 100-metre man.

The latest from the Star’s Rosie DiManno in Tokyo: Olympic bronze is cool, but Andre De Grasse — Canada’s first male medallist in Tokyo — might be just getting started

11:00 a.m.: On Tokyo Daily, host Brendan Dunlop talks with the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk in Tokyo after Andre De Grasse’s bronze medal run in the men’s 100-metre dash.

Watch the latest Tokyo Daily: Team Canada learning you win some, you lose some at the Olympics

10:15 a.m.: US shot putter Raven “Hulk” Saunders raised her arms in an “X” gesture upon mounting the podium to receive her silver medal in women’s shot put.

She said the demonstration signified “the intersection of where all oppressed people meet.”

The IOC has strict rules against podium protests. No disciplinary actions have yet been announced against Saunders.

10:10 a.m.: A Belarus track sprinter alleged her Olympic team tried to remove her from Japan in a dispute that led to a standoff Sunday evening at Tokyo’s main airport.

An activist group supporting Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she believed her life was in danger in Belarus and would seek asylum with the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo.

10:00 a.m.: If grasping the many nuances of Olympic-level sailing requires years spent in a boat learning to read the whims of the wind and the water, Toronto’s Sarah Douglas also trained for her debut at these Tokyo Games in the living room of her apartment in the Canary District.

When she wasn’t travelling the world racing on the World Cup circuit in the laser radial class, Douglas also spent time sweating through workouts on what’s called a hiking bench. “Hiking,” in sailing jargon, is the technique sailors use to balance a boat in full sail, essentially dangling themselves over the edge of the boat, leaning out over the waves.

Dave Feschuk has the story: Sarah Douglas took ‘medal or nothing’ approach, finishes sixth in Tokyo Olympics regatta

Previously: Canadian women’s swim team took bronze in medley relay, springing Penny Oleksiak to become Canada’s most decorated Olympian; Andre de Grasse finishes third in 100 metre sprint, becoming Canada’s first male medallist this summer.

For a full write-up of what you missed on Day 9 of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

For full coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, click here.

Source : Toronto Star More   

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