Who else has Olympic fever? Thank goodness I am not back to work yet and I can binge watch the games all day at my leisure. How about Mr. Lightening Bolt? The machine of a swimmer Michael Phleps? The tiny but mighty Simone Biles? I think if you have the dedication, focus and athletic ability to even make it to the Olympic games is an incredible feat. Whatever the event may be, wherever country you hail from, you are simply amazing.
My favourite event to watch is definitely track and field. When The Pan Am Games were hosted by Toronto last summer, I bought my ticket online to watch the track events immediately. It was there I first saw a young man named Andre Degrasse. Unfortunately he was warming up on the opposite side of the stadium from our seat location. I did manage to see him warm-up and run on the jumbo screen. A lot smaller than his competitors, Degrasse was fast. Very fast. Taking the gold medal in both the men’s 100 meter and 200 meter races. Mind you, Bolt was missing and recovering from a pulled hamstring injury so I am sure the results would have been different had Bolt been present at The Pan Am. Watching Degrasse race at these Rio Olympic games, I feel like I am getting to know more about his family life, running style and personality after he won the bronze medal in the men’s 100 meter. These are the reasons for Degrasse fever.
- He’s Canadian. Of course I have a sense of national pride. Represent!
2. He loves his mama, and credits her support, love and guidance as a former sprinter herself for his success. After winning the bronze, he sought out his mom in the stadium among the masses.
3. He seems very humble. During interviews Degrasse is polite, smiling and lowering his head after accolades, again thanking his strong family life and upbringing. He also notes his errors and areas of improvement on the track.
4. He’s extremely homegrown. He hails from Markham (in the greater Toronto area). My nephew Julian went to his alma mater Father Michael McGivney. My friend Andrea went to the same high school as Degrasse, Markham High. I often visited her at her school many moons ago when we were teenagers. I can officially say I walked the same halls as a great Canadian Sprinter.
5. I read in an article that he loves oxtail and rice and peas. Hello! The boy has great taste in food.
6. He’s smart. Although Usain Bolt is his competitor, he does not view him as his rival but a knowledgeable mentor who he can learn from. I can see the world’s fastest man is advising the young sprinter, and Degrasse is drinking it all in. Many in the media have called the camaraderie among these two athletes as a “bromance” but I think it is great respect on both ends. With their respective flags draped over their shoulders after the 100 meter results, they hugged, talking and laughing like the best of friends. Bolt telling the world to watch out for this youngster.
7. He demonstrates great sportsmanship, fist bumping other sprinters and congratulating competitors after racing.
As Bolt has said this is his final Olympic appearance, and Justin Gatlin is probably retiring at 34, I think we are looking at the future world’s fastest man. I think Bolt knows this, and I have to agree with Mr. Lightening. Confidence, sportsmanship, humility, intelligence and natural athletic ability. These are some of the key factors that make a champion. Of course a little oxtail and rice and peas as fuel probably helped too.
Are you watching the games? What’s your favourite event? What are your highlights from the games so far?