De Grasse runs blistering – but wind-aided – 9.69 to win in Stockholm


First placed Canada's Andre De Grasse, right. (Vidar Rudd/NTB scanpix via AP)

A stiff breeze may have kept sprint star Andre De Grasse from a Canadian record.

But with his blistering victory in the 100 metres at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm on Sunday, the 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., served notice that the national mark isn’t long for the books.

De Grasse crossed in 9.69 seconds, one of the fastest wind-aided times in history, and what would have been a Canadian record and a big personal best. But the wind reading was an illegal 4.8 metres per second — anything above two metres is considered wind-aided.

"It was a shock to me when I saw the time on the board," De Grasse said on the IAAF website. "I just wanted to run sub-10 and I didn’t feel in the shape to run that fast.

"I’m really happy about it, it’s a good start to the season. I’m just looking forward to running that fast legally."

The Canadian record is 9.84, held by both Donovan Bailey (1996 Olympics) and Bruny Surin (’99 world championships). De Grasse’s fastest legal time is the 9.91 he ran en route to winning bronze at last summer’s Rio Olympics.

Using a wind adjustment calculator, De Grasse’s time converts to 9.88 with zero wind, or 9.79 with a legal 2.0 wind.

The victory was the Canadian’s third in a row, coming three days after he won the 100 metres at the Oslo Diamond League meet. He won the 200 metres in Rome on June 8.

The solid stretch of racing has De Grasse on pace for a strong summer that includes the world championships in London in early August, where he’ll race Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt one last time. Bolt is expected to retire after this summer.

"It’s been a successful series of races," said De Grasse’s coach Stuart McMillan. "The objective was to be consistent — to learn from each race, and to improve race execution each time out. From this perspective, I feel he has done very well. His top end speed is starting to come, and I have no doubt that once we de-load, there will be much more to come."

Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast ran 9.84 to finish second Sunday, while Ryan Shields of Jamaica was third in 9.89.

Crystal Emmanuel of Toronto was second in the women’s 200 metres, missing gold by just 0.01, and the Canadian record by 0.07.

Emmanuel crossed in 22.69 — with a legal wind of 1.1 — to finish behind Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast. Germany’s Rebekka Haase was third in 22.76. Marita Payne-Wiggins, mom of NBA star Andrew Wiggins, holds the Canadian record of 22.62 set in 1983.

Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., was fourth in the women’s 800 metres. The world silver medallist crossed in 1:59.70. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won in 1:59.11, while Sweden’s Lovisa Lindh was second in 1:59.41, and Selina Buchel of Switzerland took third (1:59.66).

De Grasse, who was slow out of the blocks in Wednesday’s victory, had a much stronger start Sunday. He felt the gusting wind, he said, as the runners lined up for the start.

"But when we went into the blocks and started racing, I didn’t really feel the wind," said the three-time Olympic medallist. "That’s the fastest I’ve ever run, it’s going to be a shock to the body. (Monday) is going to hurt a little but, but I’m just looking forward to the next race and see what I can do legally."

De Grasse’s next meet is the Harry Jerome International Track Classic on June 28 in Coquitlam, B.C.


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