Andre De Grasse is a nearly man no more. Finally, he can call himself Olympic champion.
The Canadian sprinter with a collection of silver and bronze medals in major championships struck gold at last, winning the men’s 200m on Wednesday (4) in another super-fast final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
De Grasse outsprinted USA rivals Noah Lyles and Kenny Bednarek over the final 50 meters to claim victory in a national record 19.62, becoming the first man not named Usain Bolt to win the Olympic 200m since 2004.
It was De Grasse’s fifth career Olympic medal, and the one that counts the most. The one that always eluded him during Bolt’s reign at the top.
“I finally did it,” the 26-year-old said. “I always felt like I came up short, winning bronze and silver, so it is good to have this gold medal. No one can take that away from me. I lived for this moment.”
Bednarek earned the silver in a personal best 19.68, while pre-race favourite Lyles settled for bronze in 19.74. The USA’s 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton finished fourth in 19.93 and Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh also went under 20 seconds to finish fifth in 19.98.
The victory ended De Grasse’s long wait for an elusive gold, and came three days after he won bronze in the men’s 100m.
“I went back after the 100m and I was a little bit disappointed in myself,” he said. “I could have done better. I said: ‘I’ve got to go and get this 200.”
Go and get it, he did, running a smart and controlled race from lane 6. Lyles, in lane 2, and Bednarek, in lane 7, were slightly ahead going around the turn into the straight. All three men were even at one point before De Grasse made his move, pulling ahead over the final 50m sprint to the line.
SOURCE: WORLD ATHLETICS