De Grasse gets final test against Olympic-calibre field ahead of Tokyo

Andre De Grasse is in the final stages of Olympic preparation but will get a last look at some of the competition in a strong 100-metre field headed to Tokyo at Tuesday’s Müller British Grand Prix in Gateshead, England.

While many of Canada’s 57-member track and field team have stopped competing ahead of its pre-Olympic training camp in Gifu, Japan, the Markham, Ont., sprinter has entered the final Diamond League meet before the Summer Games, which opens July 23.

De Grasse, who will try to run under 10 seconds for a third time in the 100 this season, faces top Americans Trayvon Bromell and Fred Kerley in a race CBCSports.ca will live stream at 2:25 p.m. ET.

Bromell, the pre-race favourite in the eight-man field, has won five of six races this season, including a 9.80 effort at the recent U.S. Olympic trials.

De Grasse and Bromell, who battled on the track six years ago at the NCAA championships, have split two meetings this season, with the Canadian prevailing on Friday at Diamond League Monaco (10.00 to 10.01).

In April, Bromell posted a convincing victory in 9.88 over runner-up De Grasse (10.05) at the North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville.

The 100 in Monaco, where Ronnie Baker of the United States won in 9.91, was closer to an Olympic-calibre field than Tuesday’s lineup. South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who was second in 9.98, has a 9.84 season best while third-place finisher Lamont Jacobs of Italy has burst on the scene in 2021 with his first two sub-10-second runs, including 9.98 in Monaco.

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

Tuesday’s race, which also features Adam Gemili and Zharnel Hughes, of Great Britain, will be the 11th in a 13-week stretch for De Grasse, who has run four times in the 200 and will race that event along with the 100 and 4×100 relay in Tokyo.

WATCH | De Grasse places 4th in Monaco:

Markham, Ont., native Andre De Grasse sprints to fourth-place finish in 100m Diamond League race. 1:52

Five years ago, he needed only a few days to become a household name outside of Canada at the Rio Olympics. De Grasse followed up his bronze and a then-personal-best time of 9.91 in the 100 with silver in the 200 before running the anchor leg with Aaron Brown, Akeem Haynes and Brendon Rodney to set a Canadian record of 37.64 en route to bronze.

De Grasse will be in tough in Tokyo as seven men, including Olympic-bound Bromell (world-leading 9.77), Baker (9.85) and Kerley (9.86), have run faster in 2021 than his 9.90 person best and silver-medal performance at the 2019 world championships.

Shines on world stage

The 26-year-old De Grasse has yet to lower a 9.99 second best from his outdoor opener on April 17 in Gainesville, Fla., but tends to shine on the biggest stage.

WATCH: The 100-metre dash, explained

The 100m dash is the most electrifying 10 seconds in sports. Usain Bolt and Florence Griffith Joyner have been on top of the world for years, being the earth’s fastest humans. But how fast can humans really run, and have we reached our peak? 7:06

The Canadian contingent in Gateshead also includes the Olympic-bound men’s 4×100 relay team (3:27 p.m. ET), 4×100 women (3:36 p.m. ET) and sprinters Crystal Emmanuel, Khamica Bingham, Jacqueline Madogo and Leya Buchanan in the women’s 100, a non-Diamond League points race at 1:18 p.m. ET

Emmanuel, this year’s Canadian champion for an eighth time, and Bingham are also headed for Tokyo. On June 29, they placed 1-2 at a Continental Tour event in Montreal, with Emmanuel matching her 11.11 person best and running under the 11.15 Olympic standard on the final day of qualifying.

Distance runner Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., also races in Gateshead, competing in the men’s 3,000 at 3:48 p.m. ET.

Alternate in men’s 5,000 metres

It will be the 26-year-old’s first competition since June 22 when he made a final attempt to achieve the automatic Olympic entry standard in the 5,000. Flanagan chose to run in Oregon rather than at Canadian Olympic trials a few days later in Montreal, believing the American event presented a better opportunity at a fast time.

Unfortunately, Flanagan was unable to maintain Olympic pace once the pacesetters dropped out of the race and his winning time of 13:33.90 quashed any hope of making his Summer Games debut in Tokyo.

However, Flanagan was chosen as an alternate for the Canadian squad in the 5,000 on July 2 after his 13:20.67 performance from a Boston meet in late May was ratified, putting him within the world rankings quota for selection.

Flanagan, who lives and trains in Charlottesville, Va., as a member of Reebok Boston Track Club, could race in Japan should any of Canada’s Olympians in the 5,000 — Moh Ahmed, Justyn Knight and Luc Bruchet — be unable to race.

WATCH | Meet Canada’s Olympic track and field team:

This week on Team Canada Today, Andi Petrillo explains all of the big Canadian storylines in athletics — including Andre De Grasse’s chances at winning another medal. 4:13





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