Andre De Grasse believes his efforts at the 2016 Olympic Games will stand him in good stead in Tokyo this summer.
The 26-year-old demonstrated his ability in Rio de Janeiro, winning bronze in the 100 metres before going one better to take silver in the 200m.
However, it was his performance in the semi-final of the latter event that highlighted De Grasse’s potential as a future gold medallist.
Usain Bolt appeared to be cruising to victory in the final 50m before De Grasse drew alongside, forcing the legendary Jamaican to step on the gas.
Just two one hundredths of a second separated the pair at the finish, and they followed up by filling the same two positions in the final.
In a recent interview with Betway Insider, the Canadian sprinter admitted that he had set to out make a statement against Bolt.
“It was like we were just out there having fun,” he said.
“We didn’t expect to see Usain in the semi-finals. My coach had a strategy: ‘You’re going to have to make him run. We’ve got to make him work, we can’t make it too easy for him’.
“I ran a good, hard 150m, I looked to my side and I was like: ‘OK, he’s starting to slow down, and I’m close to him.’
“That was really just me going out there having fun, and just trying to do my best.”
Things didn’t go to plan after Rio, with De Grasse spending most of the next two seasons injured, but he bounced back to claim two more medals at the 2019 Doha World Championships.
He has looked in pretty good shape this season, posting the sixth-fastest time of the year (19.89) in the 200m in Qatar towards the end of May.
De Grasse is strongly fancied to pick up medals in both sprint events, although he will have to improve his times if he is to take gold.
Noah Lyles is favourite to clinch gold in the 200m after producing a season’s best 19.74 in June, while Trayvon Bromell will be tough to beat in the 100m after running 9.77 earlier the same month.
Despite this, De Grasse is confident that his experience of going head-to-head with Bolt in Brazil could give him a crucial edge at this summer’s Games.
“I think I have done a good job of coping with that (pressure) because I’ve had that experience from 2016,” he added.
“I feel like I have a lot more experience on my side. I know what to expect, whether that’s warming up, going to the call room or going through the rounds.
“It’s kind of a strategy, where you have to conserve energy so that when you get to the finals, you can have a personal best.
“I’m just hoping to keep that in my back pocket and that’s going to help me towards these Games.”
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