Speed Round: A Q&A With Sprinter Andre De Grasse
Sprinter Andre De Grasse is one of the fastest humans on this planet and he may very well be one of the most stylish too. His unwavering confidence and flashy look stand out, on and off the track, and play a huge part in his success. Check out our exclusive interview with Andre below.
You’re on your way to a big race: what’s your go-to look from head to toe?
When I’m stepping onto the track, I’m wearing shades all the time. Next, I would be wearing a baseball cap, usually have some earrings in, jewelry on, and then of course, a PUMA track suit with my favorite shoes and my spikes in hand.
If we opened your bag before practice or a big race, what would we find?
I couldn’t go without my headphones. I need my headphones with me at all times. If I’m headed into a big meet, music calms me down. If I didn’t have my headphones for sure that would be mistake No. 1. My spikes are always in my bag – those are obviously very important. Then I always have snacks with me. You’re at track meets for 6+ hours so I always try to bring a bar or a banana with me, something to just snack on while I’m there. But my favorite snack is Honey Teddy Grahams. I ALWAYS have them.
Your sense of style follows you onto the track; What’s the significance of the necklace you wear during races?
I like the style: It makes me who I am. I love shiny objects — anytime I get the opportunity to wear some jewelry, I want to show it off. I change it up for every meet, whatever bracelet or chain I feel like wearing that day, but I try not to make it too heavy. I obviously have to run. Other sports I couldn’t do that — basketball, soccer you can’t do that, but track is one of those non-contact sports where you can wear anything you want and show off your sense of style.
You were a multi-sport athlete growing up. How do you feel basketball and soccer helped prepare you for a sprinting career?
Soccer helped me prepare for sprinting because you need a lot of speed and endurance – and that helps a lot with track. The movements on the field are helpful as well. I’d say basketball helped me with just being elastic — being a bouncy runner, you have to jump a lot. So both sports attributed a lot to it.
How did you first discover your talent for running?
It all started in the 12th grade. I went to a track meet to watch my friend compete. I told him I wanted to go out there and race him. So I ended up racing him. I was in basketball shorts, basketball shoes, full-on basketball attire and I stood up in a suicide position and ran a 10.90 that day. A coach saw me – his name was Tony Sharp — and he really guided me and showed me I had a future in this sport. He told me he believed I could go out there and shock the world. I decided to take his advice and the rest is history.
What specific drills do you focus on to boost your acceleration and speed?
My favorite drill is wickets. It’s something that we do to work on our mechanics, speed, and endurance. My second favorite workout (that a lot of people would think I wouldn’t like because I’m not good at it) is blocks. I love to do things that I’m not good at – it pushes me to work on them and get better and faster.
During the summer games, you were standing right next to some of the world’s fastest men. How did you handle that pressure to keep yourself sharp and locked into the moment?
I think of it as any other meet. It doesn’t really matter how big of a meet it is – whether it’s the world championship or the Olympics, it’s just another meet. I know I’m one of the top guys, I know how far I’ve come, I know how fast I can run, so I focus on myself. If I do that and I execute my race, I know everything is going to go well. As long as I’m healthy and not injured I think a lot of things will go my way.
As you work to get faster, what are you focused on improving?
Like I said, trying to get out of the blocks as quickly as possible – try to be with my competition at 30 meters. I know if I could do that, things will go well in the race. Then, of course, I want to work on my mechanics and speed endurance. I struggle at anything above 200 meters, so I think if I try to focus, things will go well.