Andre De Grasse, of Canada, receives high fives from fans during the men's 200-meter heat at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Andre De Grasse has his eyes set on Paris 2024

Few Canadians need an introduction to Andre De Grasse. The 29-year-old is Canada’s most decorated male summer Olympian, a regular on the podium during his two Olympic appearances.

De Grasse cemented his name in the Canadian sports history books in 2016, when he became the first Canadian athlete to win medals in all three sprinting events, taking home a bronze in the 100m, silver in the 200m, and bronze in the 4x100m relay.

He followed that performance up four years later with a gold medal in the 200m, a repeat 100m bronze medal, and a silver from the 4x100m relay.

In 2024, De Grasse has his eyes firmly trained on his third Olympic Games, but is also dedicated to giving back to the athletics community through the work of his foundation–the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation.

Olympic.ca caught up with De Grasse to chat about his work on and off the track:

Andre De Grasse raises the Canadian flag after winning the 200-metre final
Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200m finals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Wednesday, August 04, 2021. Photo by Mark Blinch/COC

O.ca: What’s your approach been like this season? Has anything changed since last season?

ADG: My approach to this season has definitely changed. Last year was a bit of a down year for me. I came out of an injury, but now I’m back healthy and feeling pretty good. I’ve started off my season earlier than usual this year, so I’ve got a couple races under my belt and now I’m looking forward to the outdoor season and gearing up towards Paris.

Is there anything that people don’t know, or get wrong about sprinting?

ADG: That’s a good question! I think people think that we sprint every single day, but it’s not like that. I’m only really sprinting two, maybe three days a week and then the rest is a bit more mileage, work in the weight room, or doing exercises for form. The body just can’t handle that type of load to be sprinting every single day. So that can be a misconception a little bit.

And then another thing that I often try to tell people is that it’s not always about the time. We’re talking about hundreds of a second or a millisecond. When people run that close, it’s a really close race.

Andre De Grasse celebrates 200-metre victory
Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200m finals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Wednesday, August 04, 2021. Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

Lots of people remember your medal performances as special Olympic moments. Do you have a favourite Team Canada moment that you experienced as a fan?

ADG: Oh my goodness, so many. It’s hard to say one. I have so many special memories of closing ceremonies in particular, it feels so good to see all my Team Canada teammates that are still there and have fun with all of the different sports and just take in the environment. But if I had to pick a moment as a spectator I think I’d say watching Penny [Oleksiak] win gold during the first week at Rio 2016.

What do you hope your legacy will be in Canadian sport?

ADG: I hope people will remember that I’ve done amazing things on the track, but also off the track. If I can be known for inspiring and empowering the next generation through my foundation, and also for winning medals, that would be the best of both worlds.

Andre De Grasse signs a young girl's hat
Canadian Track star Andre De Grasse signs autographs after announcing the launch of the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation in Toronto on Thursday, May 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Can you talk a little bit about the development of your foundation?

ADG: I started my foundation in 2018. The reason why I started it was because I was very fortunate to have a sponsor to go off to the 2012 Pan American Championships in Colombia and that gave me a lot of confidence and kick started my career. 

I want to give back now to others that could be the next Andre de Grasse or the next great talent in their events in track and field. So we branched off and did a collaboration with Athletics Canada and started the Andre de Grasse Future Champions Fund, where we can give athletes the resources they need, whether that’s clothing, shoes, coaching, a platform, or whatever they need to be able to accomplish their goals.

I feel really good about it. We’re five years in and we’ve done some amazing work and were able to give scholarships for 10 student athletes. So we want to just continue building on that.

Finally–what’re your goals for Paris 2024?

The goal is to come back home with another three Olympic medals!