Track and Field

Andre De Grasse's agents on sprinter's reported split with coach: It's 'unfounded speculation'

Is Canadian Olympic triple medallist Andre De Grasse prepared to walk away from coach Stu McMillan and the ALTIS training group? "He is still under the guidance of ALTIS," his agency Doyle Management said Monday in an emailed statement to CBC Sports.

Canadian Olympian has yet to regain top form since return from injury

Stu McMillan, the coach for Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, is surprised by a report that has surfaced, stating they might be parting ways. 'That's news to me,' McMillan said on Sunday while De Grasse prepares to run the 100 and 200 metres at next week's Canadian track and field championships. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Is Canadian Olympic triple medallist Andre De Grasse prepared to walk away from coach Stu McMillan and the Phoenix-based ALTIS training group?

Not according to his agency, Doyle Management, which responded Monday to a story published by Welle Media on Friday that reported the Markham, Ont., sprinter "may be" parting ways with McMillan and ALTIS, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

"Andre's splitting with Stuart McMillan and the ALTIS training group is complete speculation and unfounded," Doyle Management said in an emailed statement to CBC Sports. "Andre has been spending more time in Toronto for treatment, sponsor commitments and for his foundation launch.

"He is still under the guidance of ALTIS, and while in town is training with his longtime coach and mentor, Tony Sharpe."

McMillan also didn't acknowledge a potential parting of the ways when contacted on Sunday while attending the Müller British Athletics Championships in Birmingham, England.

"That's news to me," he said. "[I'll be] happy to talk once back in North America."

Disappointing season

CBC Sports also reached out to De Grasse, who didn't offer comment as he prepares for this weekend's Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa, where he is scheduled to defend his titles in the 100 and 200 metres.

De Grasse, who joined ALTIS in December 2015, has had a disappointing return this season after suffering a Grade 2 right hamstring strain in the week leading up to the world track and field championships last August. The 23-year-old also didn't race at the Commonwealth Games in April.

Earlier this week, De Grasse finished third in a men's 100-metre race won by his relay teammate Aaron Brown at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic in Burnaby, B.C. De Grasse, who posted a time of 10.36 seconds, also anchored Canada's 4x100 relay team to a meet record 38.42 seconds for an easy win over a Chinese squad.

The Harry Jerome meet marked De Grasse's first meet since May 12 when he finished last in an eight-man field in 10.25 at a Diamond League event in Shanghai.

Less-than-spectacular results

De Grasse's performance in China followed his 20.46 clocking in his 200 season debut at the season opening Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar. The Canadian had made his season debut a week earlier at Drake Relays, running the 100 in 10.15. In 2017, De Grasse posted season bests of 10.01 and 20.01 in the 100 and 200.

According to Welle Media, age could stand in the way of his ability to get much faster through the next Olympic cycle than he has already shown.

It noted that since 2000, 10 of 15 Olympic medallists in the 100 ran their personal-best time in the event at age 24 or under, compared to nine of 15 in the 200. Retired eight-time Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt's fastest times in both events came at 22, reported Welle Media, while Jamaica's Yohan Blake also ran fastest in the 100 at 22.

Could that mean De Grasse reached his ceiling for time as a 21-year-old at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio when he ran 9.91 and 19.80? Welle Media suggested as much while also pointing out the athlete's dip in performance may be a blip and that perhaps he feels less pressure in a non-Olympic and non-championship year ahead of the 2019 worlds in Doha, Qatar.

First-time father

De Grasse will be four months shy of his 26th birthday when the Tokyo Olympics begin in July 2020.

De Grasse has also had plenty on his mind this season, from his injury return, to less-than-spectacular results, to becoming a first-time father. His longtime girlfriend, Nia Ali, gave birth to daughter Yuri on June 23.

"It's a different type of feeling," De Grasse told reporters at Monday's Harry Jerome news conference. "It's a new step into becoming a man. It's a new chapter in my life. It's going to be a great ride. I'm looking forward to enjoying it."

A year ago at nationals, De Grasse swept the 100 and 200 a year ago in 10.11 and a wind-assisted 19.96, respectively.

Following nationals, De Grasse will return to the Diamond League circuit on July 21-22, if not before, at the Müller Anniversary Games. It's expected he will race the 100 at London Stadium against young American star Christian Coleman, who has been slowed in recent weeks by an injured hamstring.


Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc


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