USA TODAY Sports picks every medal for every Olympic event
Simone Biles will lead the way for the Americans with five golds in our projection, which has Team USA winning 133 medals, its most since 1984.That total estimate would be the greatest number of medals earned by the U.S. since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when the host nation raked in 174. Fifty-nine gold medals would be the U.S.’s best since earning 83 in Los Angeles. The U.S. ranked No. 1 in total medals and gold medals for the past two consecutive Summer Olympics in Rio (121 total, 46 gold) and London (104 total, 46 gold).
Most parents would probably say they're proud of their kids, but after Andre De Grasse's first Olympic gold medal win on Wednesday, his mother, Beverly, is feeling pride on another level.
The 26-year-old Markham, Ont., sprinter surged across the finish line in the men's 200-metre final in Tokyo with a Canadian record time of 19.62 seconds — and his mother is still smiling about it.
"I'm super, super proud and super, super excited," she told reporters outside her home in Pickering, Ont., Wednesday afternoon.
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"I feel like I'm on a high and I don't know how to come down."
Though the race was undoubtedly tight — American Kenneth Bednarek won silver with a time of 19.68 — Beverly De Grasse said she never once doubted her son. The two were beaming at each other on a video call not long after De Grasse celebrated his win from the track, draped in the Canadian flag.
"He was so excited, so happy," she said. "Andre puts out his best when it counts, when it matters."
The race of his life
De Grasse's win marks the first time in 93 years that a Canadian has sprinted to gold in the men's 200 metre — Percy Williams did it in 1928 at the Games in Amsterdam — and it's only the third time in Olympic history that a Canadian has captured gold in the event.
De Grasse now has five Olympic medals, including a bronze in the 100-metre race in Tokyo. He's won a medal in every event he's competed in over two Games.
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Maude Charron powered her way to Canada's first Olympic gold medal in weightlifting since Christine Girard 2012, and this time the winner got to bask in a moment. "I told myself all week that it's just a regular competition, do what you know best," Charron said told CBC Sports the day after she powered her way to Canada's first Olympic gold medal in weightlifting since Christine Girard did it in London in 2012.
In his post-race interview, De Grasse told CBC Sports this was the race of his life.
"I'm so happy. I'm so proud of myself," he said. "I finally got it done. I've been working hard for this moment for the past five years."
Now that her son has ascended to the pinnacle of the sport, Beverly De Grasse couldn't help but laugh thinking back to when Andre first said he wanted to try out track and field. At first, she thought he just wanted to get out of school.
"I just thought he wanted to skip school and have fun with his friends," she said with a smile.
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Welcomed into 'club of champions'
But when Tony Sharpe, former Canadian Olympian and head coach at the Speed Academy, saw De Grasse in one of his first races, he knew there was something special there. Not long after that, De Grasse started training at the developmental track and field club in Pickering.
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In his first provincial high school track meet and with no instruction, De Grasse came in fifth, Sharpe said. After just two months of training, he went to another meet and won.
So what sets De Grasse apart?
"It's God-given, man. It's a God-given gift he was born with," Sharpe said.
"He's the most talented sprinter I've ever observed."
There's no question De Grasse's latest win has captured the Canadian consciousness, with social media awash in proud posts on Wednesday.
And though the Bank of Canada dropped plans for a $200 bill back in 2006, this 200-metre win sure helps bolster an argument.
Two-time Canadian Olympic medallist Donovan Bailey said Wednesday he was happy to welcome De Grasse to the "club of champions."
"I'm probably more happy than he is," Bailey said. "This is incredible. This is such an amazing accomplishment for Andre, for his family, for the country, for the track program."
Gold medals inspire interest in sport
This is a critical time for the sport's development in Canada, with so few people able to participate since school sports have been put on hold throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Helen Manning, chair of the Athletics Canada board of directors.
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Canada was done. Finished. A gone goose. The story was etched on the face of the great Christine Sinclair , surely at her last Olympiad. After her opening kick in the shootout was saved by Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara, Sinclair looked like doom. She stared at the turf, as though reliving every moment of one of the longest careers in international soccer, knowing full well that this was probably it, that she was going to bow out on a saved penalty kick in the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games. Her teammates had other ideas. First, Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Leon converted their kicks.
She said Wednesday there's hope that De Grasse's win will continue to drive interest in track and field.
"There's no question every time we get a gold medal, it inspires somebody to say 'I want to do that,' " she said.
With any luck, De Grasse will continue to inspire for years to come. Sharpe said he figures De Grasse has another decade of competitive sprinting in his legs, something Beverly De Grasse agrees with.
"I think he should have at least two more Olympics in him, hopefully," she said.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Letters to the editor: Andre De Grasse – 'Determination personified!" .
‘We are all so proud of you Andre’ Re: Andre De Grasse finally gets his Olympic gold: Canada’s first 200m victory at Games in 93 years, Scott Stinson, Aug. 4 Human determination personified! There is no better example than the camera side shot of Andre De Grasse summoning every joule of sprinting energy humanly possible to edge past the American leader to win the 200-metre Olympic race. Andre, we are all so proud of you! Ted Lawrence, Calgary Human determination personified! There is no better example than the camera side shot of Andre De Grasse summoning every joule of sprinting energy humanly possible to edge past the American leader to win the 200-metre Olympic race.