De Grasse sprints to bronze as Coleman blazes to 100m world title
Canadian sets PB in 9.90 seconds, American runs 9.76 to take down 2017 champion Justin Gatlin
Andre De Grasse said he needed to "lay it all out" on the track in the men's 100-metre final on Saturday and did just that, setting a personal-best time of 9.90 seconds to earn a bronze medal at the world championships in Doha, Qatar.
Christian Coleman, 23, won in 9.76 — also a PB — with his third victory in as many attempts this season against 37-year-old Justin Gatlin, the 2017 world champion who came in at 9.89.
VIDEO | Watch the men's 100-metre final:
De Grasse celebrated his achievement by giving 15-month-old daughter Yuri a tour of the track at Khalifa International Stadium.
"I'm pretty grateful to get a personal-best out of it and pretty satisfied coming off injuries and being out of the sport the past couple of years," a smiling De Grasse, who collected Canada's first medal of these worlds, told CBC Sports' Scott Russell. "Moving forward, I know I can get better and I'm looking forward to running the 200 [in Doha] and see what I can do there."
WATCH | Andre De Grasse on his progress through the season:
De Grasse ran an "incredible" race, noted 1996 Olympic 100 champion Donovan Bailey, and is peaking at the right time of the year.
It was De Grasse's fastest time since he stopped the clock in 9.91 for a third-place finish in the 2016 Olympic final in Rio. A pair of right hamstring injuries followed each of the next two years before the Markham, Ont., sprinter rebounded strongly this season.
If it wasn't for family I don't know where I'd be. They kept me positive.— World bronze medallist Andre De Grasse on his recovery from injuries in 2017 and 2018
The injuries played a part in splitting from Canadian coach Stu McMillan of the ALTIS training group last fall and moving to Jacksonville, Fla., to work with American sprint guru Rana Reider, who has helped De Grasse regain confidence.
"Trust the coach and be patient," said De Grasse. "As the season progressed, I just kept on getting better and better."
In Saturday's final, he passed Akani Simbine of South Africa in the final metres while teammate and 2019 Canadian champion Aaron Brown placed eighth in 10.08.
"Andre is probably going to be [trailing] at the 30-metre mark," Bailey said, "but his strengths are maintaining his acceleration and relaxing at the end of the race, and that's what he did today."
Also in the stands in support of De Grasse was his mother Beverley and girlfriend Nia Ali.
6 podium finishes in 2019
"If it wasn't for family I don't know where I'd be," he said. "They kept me positive [in my injury recovery] and said to keep that dedication and commitment and [I would] turn things around … and today was a good sign."
De Grasse strained his right hamstring during a training run just days before the start of 2017 worlds in London. And his 2018 campaign ended in July when he re-injured the hamstring at the Canadian championships.
It marked the first time since the 2015 NCAA semifinals that De Grasse and Coleman ran head-to-head in the 100. De Grasse passed Coleman in the final 10 metres of the 200 on a wet track to clock a 19.91 SB two months ago at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Coleman was second in 19.97.
Joining De Grasse in the 200 heats on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET will be his relay teammates Brendon Rodney of Brampton, Ont., and Brown.
"Andre will put himself in a position to get a medal in the 200 metres. We know that from the 100 metres today," Bailey said. "We also know that Aaron's confidence is way different in the 200 than it is in the 100 metres. He will also make the 200 final knowing he made the 100 final."
De Grasse, who believes his 19.87 PB from the 2016 Olympics also could fall in Doha, told Russell there is a possibility of returning to the podium in the 100, 200 and relay next summer at the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Coleman's previous PB was 9.79, his winning time at the 2018 Diamond League Final in Brussels. He awoke Saturday with a season world-leading time of 9.81 and went 9.88 in the semifinals earlier in the day.
A rested Coleman arrived in Doha having not run the 100 since winning in 9.99 in late July at the U.S. championships. He also entered the worlds amid some controversy after missing three drug tests within one year, which is supposed to carry the same penalty as a positive result. However, a technicality related to the dates of the missed tests absolved the Atlanta native and allowed him to compete at worlds.
Coleman ran 9.81 to beat Gatlin (9.87) at the Prefontaine Classic on June 30 and a month later prevailed in 9.96 in the semifinals at the U.S. championships where Gatlin was third before withdrawing from the event.
Bailey on Brown: 'He's a top-8 sprinter in the world'
Brown, the two-time reigning Canadian champion in the 100, said his transition struggles in Saturday's semifinal continued in the final and will be something to work on for next season.
The Toronto native also revealed he was "close" to focusing solely on the 200 in Doha and "can't complain too much" about reaching the 100 final.
"I'm not that disappointed in what Aaron did," said Bailey. "It's his first international 100-metre final, so he's cemented himself as a top-eight sprinter in the world. If he takes the good things that come from making finals while being rusty and sloppy and put that into the 200 metres, hopefully he'll get on the podium.
"We know that [American] Noah Lyles is by far the favourite, just like Christian Coleman was in the 100 metres, but you can bet a little that you might have two Canadians on the [medal] podium [on Tuesday]."
CBC Sports has exclusive live coverage of the 2019 World Track & Field Championships from Sept. 27-Oct. 6. Visit the stream and broadcast schedule, You can also add the complete event schedule to your calendar.