Canadian runner Andre De Grasse ran his first race in high school. He impressed former Olympian Tony Sharpe so much that he decided to mentor the young athlete. It didn’t take long before De Grasse consistently won race after race. Over the past ten years, he has made a place for himself as one of this country’s best-known and most medalled runners.
In fact, at age 27, he’s garnered as many medals and awards as he has years of his life. He is a six-time Olympic medalist — one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes — with a long line of national and international top placements going back nearly a decade. The first Canadian sprinter to win three medals in a single Olympics, De Grasse and his teammates won gold at the men’s 4x100m relay at the World Track and Field Championships this July.
What’s the biggest challenge for you as an athlete?
Just trying to maintain my schedule. I’m trying to have that balance between family, my sport, and having time for myself. All those things play a role. For me, it’s about trying to find that balance. There is only so much time to go around. So, I try to enjoy the moments I can with the people I love, and also be competitive in my sport to accomplish my dreams as well. I think that’s key to my success: having people around me, in my corner, to help me, and enjoy that moment.
What’s something about your sport that most people might not know?
Knowing that we train six days a week. A lot of people don’t know that we are training four to five hours a day. It’s like a full-time job. A lot of people think we just show up and run. You have to practice and put in the work, Monday through Saturday, with a rest day on Sunday. Even if you are resting on Sunday, you are still actively doing something, like a massage for recovery.
Can you tell me why you created the Andre De Grasse Future Champions Fund, and what is its greatest achievement so far?
I think the Andre De Grasse Future Champions Fund is my greatest accomplishment. I’m able to give kids scholarships and help provide them with education and resources for Track and Field. Equipment can be expensive, like spikes and running shoes. It’s good to be able to provide that for them and be able to give them that opportunity so they can be that next star. For me, it’s really special.
The reason why I started [Future Champions Fund] was because I had a lot of support when I was growing up, and I wanted to be able to return that favour to the next generation of athletes. Then, of course, I have other initiatives I’m really proud of as well. We started branching off and working with SickKids and other organizations — mental health, and things like that. I’m trying to help that next generation in other aspects of life.
What is your advice to aspiring athletes?
For me, really, just have fun, stay positive. There are always going to be ups and downs in the road but continue to push yourself and keep striving for greatness for yourself, and you’ll be successful.
Dave Gordon | Associate Editor