Canadian sprint legends Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin are ready to hand over their joint 100-metre record to 20-year old Andre De Grasse.
Not that they’ll have much choice when that day comes, but it hasn’t just yet.
All eyes were on De Grasse Friday night when the Canadian men’s 100m title race took place in Edmonton, part of the national track and field championship weekend.
De Grasse ran a 9.95-second personal best, comfortably finishing ahead of Aaron Brown (10.13) and Justyn Warner (10.16). Those three have now qualified for Canada in the 100m at the World Championships in Beijing later this summer, while De Grasse and Brown are on the Athletics Canada team for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games that start on July 10.
Although De Grasse didn’t break the Canadian standard of 9.84s held by Bailey and Surin, the two Olympic Champions have lend full backing to the new global sprinting sensation.
“Records are meant to be broken, it didn’t happen today, but will soon enough,” Surin said taking to Twitter following De Grasse’s race on Friday.
“We live to see our record stand another day,” Surin then tweeted to Bailey.
Bailey responded saying “the times will come” and that the “title haul” for De Grasse continues through Toronto this month.
Surin also penned an open letter about De Grasse prior to the Edmonton race saying “The future of sprinting is here” and “it is now time that I officially pass him the baton to be the new face of Canadian Track & Field.”
For track and field fans, and even casual onlookers who take immense pride in Canadian athletes dominating in a truly global sport, this is a very exciting period and one that required nearly two decades of waiting.
Bailey was the first to set the current Canadian best at the unforgettable Atlanta 1996 final of the 100m where he powered his way to a World Record. At the 1999 World Championships, Surin equalled the mark with a 100m silver in Seville.
Since then World and Olympic results arrived via Perdita Felicien and Priscilla Schliep-Lopes in the hurdles. The men’s 4x100m team suffered heartbreak in London with a line violation costing them an Olympic bronze, although they won redemption in Moscow a year later with third place at the World Championships.
While smattering of success has been there, Canada may not have seen anything quite like De Grasse, who won the 100m in a slightly wind-aided 9.75s last month at the NCAA championships. It was a race against Trayvon Bromell, who has run 9.84s this year, and De Grasse responded to the competition by obliterating the American. De Grasse then won the 200m less than an hour later in an astonishing 19.58s that was also slightly north of the allowable wind levels.
It’s a matter of when – not if – De Grasse will break the Canadian 100m record (he already owns the 200m). He could very well do it in Toronto, not far from where he grew up in Markham, on July 22 in the Pan Am 100m final. Two days later, he might just leave the world speechless with another blistering 200m ahead of the World Championships in Beijing in August.