The world championships in London will be the final meeting between Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt. The Jamaican superstar made sure of that.
There were talks of De Grasse racing the 100 meters at Friday’s Diamond League meet in Monaco, but when Bolt’s management asked that he be added to the field, any potential invitation to De Grasse was nixed.“The fastest guy in the world gets a say in the (field) selection,” said De Grasse’s coach Stuart McMillan. “But I don’t blame him at all. This is his last year, he’s only raced twice. I totally understand that he doesn’t want to increase the pressure prior to worlds.
“If anyone deserves the right to have a say in the field, it’s Bolt.”
De Grasse, who has won his last four Diamond League races over both the 100 and 200 meters, will run as part of a Canadian 4×100-metre relay there.Prestigious international meets, such as the Diamond League series, rarely feature all the world’s top sprinters — meet organizers simply can’t afford it because of the appearance fees the athletes are paid.
De Grasse captured three Olympic medals last summer in Rio, a silver behind Bolt in the 200 and bronze in the 100 and 4×100 relays, and many have touted the 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., as Bolt’s heir apparent.
The 30-year-old Bolt will retire after the world championships, and De Grasse has said he’d love to beat the world-record holder before he calls it a career. The Jamaican will only run the 100 and 4×100 relay at the worlds, while De Grasse will also run the 200.Bolt hasn’t lost a race in four years. He beat a lackluster field to win 100 meters on June 10 in 10.03, in his final race on Jamaican soil. It was also his first 100 meters since the Rio Olympics.
Bolt was asked at his press conference in Monaco about young sprinters to watch. He singled out South African sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk.“I’ve learned not to call names, because over the years I’ve noticed that some youngsters no matter how much you give them props, I’ve learned that they don’t show the respect to a lot of the athletes that have really helped them to pave the way over the years, so I stopped saying who’s going to be the ‘next Usain,’ or who’s going to shine. But one person I know that will step up and he’s been doing good is Van Niekerk has really shown that he wants to take my place, he’s been dominating in all events.”De Grasse has won four consecutive Diamond League races, capturing the 200 in Rome and Rabat, Morocco, and the 100 in Oslo and Stockholm. The world championships are Aug. 4-13 at London’s Olympic Stadium.Other Canadians competing in Monaco are Shawn Barber, the reigning world champion in pole vault, world silver medallist Melissa Bishop in the 800 meters, and Matt Hughes in the 3,000-metre steeplechase.