A Canadian sprinter won his first gold medal with his cross dangling over his heart, leading the way to the finish line.
The mother and the coach of Andre De Grasse are both beaming with pride after De Grasse's latest Olympic run in Tokyo. In a Wednesday press conference outside of Beverley De Grasses, Andres's mother's Pickering home, she praised her son's accomplishments after he won the Men's 200m race. He is the first Canadian to win this race in almost one hundred years.
"I feel like I am on a high and I don't know how to come down. Even though I was expecting it, it was still so surreal to witness it over the television," Beverley says.
The 26-year-old's coach, Tony Sharpe, says Andre is not only the most talented sprinter he's ever witnessed but also a fantastic role model. With tearing eyes, Sharp says he has a "certain character" that allows him to continue running.
"It's just God-given, man. It is a God-given gift that he was born with," Sharpe says. "You knew that guy was going to be special."
Andre grew up in a Christian household and attended Catholic schools. He has tattoos across his body with Christian imagery, including The Lord's Prayer on his forearm. Andre also has "God's gift" tattooed on his upper arm.
From the race of his life— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) August 4, 2021
To glory ✨
🍁 Glory From Anywhere 🍁 pic.twitter.com/QoMj3tGb8f
In the moments after Andre won, Beverley was called by a reporter, and the mother and son "just smiled at each other" for most of that interaction. This moment was a long time coming after the day Andre approached his mother, saying he wanted to run.
"I just told him you want to have a day away from school. That's what you want," Beverley says laughing at the moment she thought he was using it as an excuse to skip school with friends. "I never thought this would be happening today."
Years later, his mother had no doubts that we would win this medal, despite saying some members of the media had their own concerns.
Andre's coach, Sharpe, has been with Andre since the start of his career.
"I walked into this high school track meet and saw this kid," Sharpe says. After reaching out, Beverley and Andre walked into a morning training session. Sharpe says "the rest is history."
Sharpe coaches other youth in Ontario and says they look up to Andre. Andre's coach calls Andre a "true role model" to other youth.
In true motherly fashion, Beverly says she hopes Andre will be able to find time for himself after the win. Andre and his girlfriend have one child together and another on the way.
"He is not just doing it for himself, he is doing it for his family for his kids so they can look up to him," Beverley says.
Sharpe says Andre "lives a very good lifestyle" and does not think he will get distracted before the next Olympics, possibly with more Olympic races to come in the next decade.