Road To The Olympic Games

Track-field

Andre De Grasse, Usain Bolt cruise into 100m semifinals

Canada's Andre De Grasse and world record holder Usain Bolt showed the world they're in top form by qualifying for the Olympic men's 100-metre semifinals in impressive fashion Saturday.

'I'm not going to wait until 2020, I'm going to do it now,' says 21-year-old Canadian

Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, qualified for the semifinals of the men's 100m on Saturday at the Rio Olympic Games. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Rumley, CBC Sports

Canada's Andre De Grasse and world record holder Usain Bolt showed the world they're in top form by qualifying for the Olympic men's 100-metre semifinals in impressive fashion.

Running in the fourth heat Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, De Grasse finished first in his heat with a time of 10.04 seconds. The 21-year-old sprinter from Markham, Ont., recovered from a slow start in his Olympic debut and was able to punch his ticket into the next round.

In the seventh heat, Bolt eased past the finish line in 10.07 seconds to win his heat. The 29-year-old holds both the world and Olympic records after running the 100m in times of 9.58 (2009) and 9.63 (2012), respectively. The Jamaican is trying for his third consecutive Olympic 100m gold.

"I was a little bit tentative," De Grasse told CBC Sports following his heat. "I didn't want to like false start, you know, it's my first Olympics," he added, admitting he was a little bit nervous.

"My heat wasn't too hard so I just wanted to cruise in and get ready for the semifinals tomorrow."

Next up for the Ontarian is the semifinals, which are set to take place Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. The final goes Sunday at 9:25 p.m. ET (watch both live on cbc.ca/olympics, the CBC Rio 2016 app and on CBC TV). 

"It's an incredible experience, I'm still soaking it all in," De Grasse said of his first Summer Games. "I'm ready for the challenge."

The Canadian posted the third fastest time overall, just ahead of Bolt — who was clearly not giving his all. 

"I came out here to try to win gold. I'm a competitor so I feel like I have a good chance to take out these guys," De Grasse added.

"I'm not going to wait until 2020, I'm going to do it now."

Bolt speeds to semis

As for Bolt, the Jamaican star admitted he felt a little bit off racing this early in the morning.

"It wasn't the best start, it felt kind of sluggish," Bolt said, adding that he never has been a morning person and preparations for his noon-time race felt unusual. "I'm not used to running this early in the morning in any championships.

"Hopefully tomorrow when I come out I'll be feeling much better."

Bolt quashed any injury concerns following a hamstring injury that was reported in July.

"My right leg is good," he told reporters. 

2 Canadians ousted

Swirling winds in the Olympic Stadium provided headwinds for some sprinters and tailwinds in other heats. 

A slight tailwind (0.8 metres per second) helped 34-year-old American Justin Gatlin win his heat in 10.01 seconds to post the best overall time and qualify for the semifinals.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake, the 26-year-old who won silver in the event at London 2012, also cemented his spot in one of the three semifinals.

Toronto's Aaron Brown finished third in his heat with a time of 10.24 seconds, just four tenths of a second behind the second-place sprinter in his group, and will not move on. Calgary's Akeem Haynes ran the fifth heat in a time of 10.22 and failed to advance.

Runner loses shoe

Geneviève Lalonde of Moncton, N.B., broke a Canadian record with a time of 9:30.24 and edged her way into the final of the women's 3,000-metre steeplechase by finishing in 14th place. The 24-year-old was one of the top 15 competitors to advance. 

In the same heat, Ethiopia's Etenesh Diro got tangled up with two other runners and stopped to tear off her damaged right shoe and sock, but she kept on running to finish seventh.

Diro, a 25-year-old who placed fifth in the event at the 2012 London Games, had been seen as a leading medal contender before her mishap.

She broke down in tears, leaving without speaking to reporters after failing to advance to the next round.

Germans own discus

Germany's Christoph Harding took gold in the men's event Saturday with a discus throw of 68.37 metres, followed by Poland's Piotr Malachowski with 67.55 metres for silver. Daniel Jasinski claimed bronze at 67.05 metres.

Canadian eyes 400m

Edmonton's Carline Muir qualified for the semifinals of Saturday's women's 400-metre race with a time of 51.57 seconds, which was good enough to rank 16th overall. In the same competition, Alicia Brown and Kendra Clark were ousted in the first round.

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters