André De Grasse believes that the best is yet to come.
“I definitely want to be the fastest Canadian of all time. So I have it at 200 [19.62 seconds]. I want to beat Donovan’s national record. [Bailey] and bruny [Surin] of 9.84 [in the 100]. I’m very close to that. And that’s something I chase every day,” said De Grasse, whose best time is 9.89.
The six-time Olympic medalist and 200m champion struggled for much of the 2023 season, leaving the world championships without a team for the first time and not even qualifying to compete in the 100m.
But he ran his two best 200 times to end his campaign, won the Diamond League final and is suddenly feeling confident again, especially after posting a season-best time of 19.76.
Training will soon resume as De Grasse looks to add to her Olympic medal tally at the Paris Games next summer.
“I know my goals. I want to win three Olympic gold medals… So I know in the relay that’s possible. 200, that’s possible. And now, just starting over and getting fast again, it will be possible in 100.” . De Grasse, whose book Ignite: unlock hidden potential comes out in October, he said in an interview with CBC Sports’ Athletics North.
SEE | De Grasse joins CBC Sports’ Athletics North:
In fact, De Grasse is the current Olympic 200 meters champion. He has won back-to-back bronze medals in the 100. And the Canadian 4×100 relay team improved from bronze at Rio 2016 to silver at Tokyo 2020.
It was that final event, in which the Canadians entered the 2023 world championships as defending gold medalists, that produced some controversy for the 29-year-old Markham, Ont., native.
Ajomale, De Grasse’s apparent replacement, faded badly in the anchor leg.
“Do I regret it a little bit? I don’t know, because at the end of the day, I put my trust in them. I believed in them. I believed in our coach, Glenroy Gilbert. So I felt like they could have done the job. It just wasn’t our day,” De Grasse said.
De Grasse will face a similar, though less grueling, decision in Paris when the relay heats take place on Thursday morning, while the 200m final will be contested that evening.
He added that the five members of the team discussed their World Cup decision over lunch the next day and vowed to bring their “A game” to the Olympics.
“Everyone will be ready. We will all train hard next season and be ready to go.”
SEE | De Grasse races towards the Diamond League title:
‘I can still do this’
Throughout his difficult season, De Grasse was open about not reaching his top speed while battling an injury.
He admitted to Athletics North that some doubts about his ability began to arise in his mind, which made the victory in the Diamond League final even more important.
“That definitely gives me a lot of confidence to say, ‘Okay, I’m still there. I can still do this. I’m not getting old. I’m not burning out,'” he said. “I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m starting to get into the rhythm, get the speed back. I’m like, ‘Okay, now let’s get into the offseason.'”
Despite those lingering thoughts, don’t expect Paris to be some kind of swan song for De Grasse: he said he wants to continue competing at Los Angeles 2028.
And of course, he’s now a published author too.
“I have a daughter at home and I was reading to her and it was during the pandemic and I thought, you know, I have a good story. Let’s write a book. So I had a good time writing it and I said: Let’s take it to the next level and try to hit the some advice on how I’ve navigated my career, my entire journey,” he said.
But as he wrote, De Grasse said he also learned something for himself.
“It’s crazy because as a runner you’re so focused on running and you don’t even realize that, hey, there are actually lessons that I learned that I didn’t even realize, like setting my goals and writing.” put them down and think about my entire support system,” he said.
For next year, De Grasse’s goals will shine like gold.