Team Canada

Three Canadian relay teams punch Olympic tickets for Paris 2024

With a crazed crowd and live music surrounding an effervescent atmosphere at Thomas Robinson Stadium in the Bahamas, Team Canada had a day to remember on the opening day of the World Athletics Relays, qualifying three teams for Paris 2024 and Sunday’s finals. 

The men’s and women’s 4x100m teams and the women’s 4x400m team all qualified, punching their tickets not only to the Olympic races but also to Sunday’s finals, which will determine Olympic seeding. 

Less than two years after winning the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon, in 2022, the Canadian men’s 4x100m team punched their ticket to the Olympics in dominant fashion, running the distance in 38.11 seconds to win their heat. 

Kenny Zhong

The group of Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney and Andre De Grasse led from the start, with De Grasse finishing off the race well ahead of the second-place Jamaican team, which qualified for Paris in 38.50 seconds. 

De Grasse, Brown, and Rodney have raced together for Team Canada since 2015 and welcomed Blake to the group later on, with the quartet establishing themselves as one of the fastest in the world, leading Canada to an Olympic quota spot on Saturday night. 

“It felt good; it was a smooth run, and it felt pretty conservative coming around, so now we’ve got to open it up. We wanted to ensure we were clean through the zones and qualified for Paris, and we’ve done that,” Brown said post-race, having run his starting leg in 10.46 seconds. “Now, tomorrow is the fun part, and we’ll go for the win.”

Blake ran his second leg in 9.09 seconds, while Rodney ran 9.53 seconds before handing off for De Grasse’s 9.03-second anchor leg to lead the team’s split times on the day. 

Having finished in the top two, Canada will race for World Relays gold on Sunday night. Lane selection, seeding, and prize money are up for grabs. They will also have another chance to battle with their rival American team, which features Noah Lyles and several others who train alongside Canadian athletes year-round.

“We’ll look at film either tonight or tomorrow morning, clean up some stuff, make sure our handoffs are on point, and we’re just going for the gold,” De Grasse added, looking ahead to Sunday’s final and a clash with the Americans. “They’re going to be our biggest competitor, so it’s always fun teaming up against those guys… it’s always a rivalry, and doing it against just like in Oregon.”

It won’t just be the Americans Canada is up against; however, as Jamaica, Great Britain, China, Japan, and France are also set to hit the starting line at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Women qualify 4x100m  second in their heat

While the men’s team secured a spot in an event Canada has found recent Olympic success in, the women’s 4x100m team also secured a quota spot at the Paris Olympics. They finished second in their heat with a time of 42.98, trailing only Poland’s heat-winning time of 42.81. 

Kenny Zhong

Sade McCreath started the race for the Canadians, running her split in 11.76 seconds, while Marie-Éloïse Leclair took on the second leg with a time of 10.53 seconds. Audrey Leduc led the Canadian splits on the day, running a 10.18 after becoming the Canadian 100m record holder with a 10.96-second performance at a meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in April. 

A veteran of three Olympic Games, Crystal Emmanuel finished the race for Canada with a 10.51-second sprint down the final stretch. 

Securing a quota spot for the Games marks Canada’s return to the Olympic women’s 4x100m after missing out on Tokyo 2020 and qualifying just twice since the Sydney 2000 Olympics. With Emmanuel in the group, Canada finished seventh at Rio 2016, the last women’s 4x100m Olympic appearance. 

“It’s an amazing feeling. The relay was at the Olympics in 2016, and now, in 2024, I’ve been here before, and I can bring all that experience to the ladies,” Emmanuel said post-race. “Qualifying this team and letting Canada know we have a strong women’s 4x100m team…I’ve been to three Olympics, and I can bring more ladies to the Olympics, and I was part of that amazing team tonight.”

Canada will race against France, the Netherlands, the United States, Poland, Great Britain, Germany and Australia on Sunday at 9:50 p.m. ET.

Women clinch 4x400m berth

With the 4×100 teams both qualified, the women led the way in securing Team Canada an Olympic quota spot in the 4x400m distance. The team of Zoe Sherar, Aiyanna Stiverne, Kyra Constantine, and Alyssa Marsh covered the distance in 3:27.17. 

Kenny Zhong

Leading for sections of their heat, the quartet finished second behind Italy, which crossed the finish line in 3:26.28 but still finished within the spots to secure an Olympic berth for the Canadian team at Paris 2024.

“I felt good like I was confident in our team. I just wanted to get us in a good spot, and I felt confident in the rest of the team to do their job,” Sherar said post-race. “We have an amazing team in the women’s 4x400m right now, and we came here to get the job done, and we did that so we can have some fun in the final.”

The group rests up before hitting the track at 10:10 p.m. ET for the World Relays final against France, Norway, Italy, Ireland, Poland and the United States.