Andre De Grasse Day: Hometown hero celebrated in Markham, Ont. after gold-medal win
TORONTO -- Andre De Grasse has finally added a gold medal to his collection—and the entire Greater Toronto Area is celebrating, with his hometown even declaring the athlete would get a day named in his honour.
The 26-year-old from Markham, Ont. sprinted to the top of the podium during the 200-metre dash at the Tokyo Olympics Wednesday morning, with a Canadian-record time of 19.62 seconds.
Andre De Grasse now has five medals—he captured a bronze in the 100-metre race Monday and has a silver and two bronzes under his belt from the 2016 Olympic Games—but it is his first gold.
It’s also Canada’s first gold medal in the sport since 1928.
Speaking to reporters from her home in Pickering, Ont., Andre De Grasse’s mother Beverly said that she is “super proud” of her son.
“I feel like I'm on a high,” she said. “Even though l was expecting it, it was just so like so surreal to really witness it, at least over the television.”
Beverly De Grasse said that when her son first said he wanted to run in track and field at school, he just thought he wanted a day off from his lessons.
“I never thought this would have been happening today … being in the Olympics or anything like that,” she said. “I just thought he wanted to skip school, have fun with his friends, you know.”
Coach Tony Sharpe said he shed “tears of joy” after watching the gold-medal race.
“It’s what we wanted,” he said. “I always kid around with Andre—I’m tired of silver, bring me some gold—and he brought it home.”
“He's just a good person. And that's the thing that inspires me about him, it's not necessarily the numbers on the on the on the scoreboard,” Sharpe added, calling Andre De Grasse “the most talented sprinter” he’s ever seen.
But it wasn’t just De Grasse’s family celebrating his win—all across Canada politicians, athletes and everyday citizens offered their congratulations.
Speaking on CP24 Wednesday, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said the he would be proclaiming Aug. 4th as “Andre De Grasse Day” in the city.
“What a moment,” Scarpitti said. “Certainly a lot of expectation that he’d come first, let’s just say he didn’t disappoint.”
The Markham gateway sign at Steeles Avenue and Markham Road, as well as the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, will also be lit gold to celebrate the win.