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Andre De Grasse dashed onto the world stage in Rio last summer, when he placed second in the 200-metre final, just 24 hundredths of a second behind Usain Bolt. The Markham, Ontario, native’s three medals make him the most decorated Canadian sprinter in a single Olympic Games – and, at 22, he’s just off the starting blocks. This month, he’s in Ottawa for the Canadian Track & Field Championships. We caught up with him in Phoenix, where he trains, before he took off for meets in Italy, Norway and Sweden.

Andre De Grasse

Photo: Jon Johnson

Roll, fold, scrunch or stuff?
Fold. I have multiple compartments in my suitcase so I don’t mix everything up: one for shoes, one for toiletries, one for track clothes and another for street clothes.

How do you deal with jet lag?
If it’s a quick return trip between Phoenix and Toronto, I stay on Mountain Time. But when I’m travelling for a competition, I try to arrive at least three days in advance to get my body accustomed to the time difference.

Tips for conquering race day jitters?
I like simple distractions, like TV. Right now, I’m watching Prison Break, Pitch and Empire. I really only come out of my hotel room to eat, and I order room service most of the time. Right before racing, I listen to a lot of music, stay hydrated and see my chiropractor and massage therapist.

You got a lot of attention in Rio with Usain Bolt. What was that like?
A lot of my family, friends and fans love that picture of us laughing as we crossed the finish line, and talk about it to this day. It was cool to have that moment that I can look back on and say, I did that, and to come away with a medal on the biggest stage. And I’m happy I got to race against Usain at his last Olympic Games.

What do you miss about Canada when you’re away?
My mom’s cooking. I love everything she makes, especially her dumplings and sausages.

Top photo: Ian Patterson



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