Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Aaron Brown has emerged from the shadows as Canada's fastest man

He’s Canada’s fastest man. He’s one of the best sprinters in the world. And he’s gearing up for another Diamond League event that could push him even closer to the top. In case you’re still not aware, his name is Aaron Brown.

27-year-old is back-to-back national champion in both the 100m and 200m

Aaron Brown of Canada celebrates winning the men's 200 metres over fellow Canadian Andre De Grasse event at the IAAF Diamond League competition in Shanghai on May 18, 2019. (Hector Retamal/Getty Images)

He's Canada's fastest man. He's one of the best sprinters in the world. And he's gearing up for another Diamond League event that could push him even closer to the top.

It's been a big three years for Aaron Brown.

Since he ran in the shadow of Canada's three-time medal-winner Andre De Grasse at the Rio Olympics, Brown has now surpassed him on the national and international stage.

Brown was at those Games as a 24-year-old, but was more of a footnote to De Grasse's story. In the 100 metres, De Grasse won a bronze medal in a scorching 9.91 seconds. Brown ran 10.24 and failed to advance to the semifinals.

His performance in the 200 was better, reaching the semis with a time of 20.37. But it was still not good enough to reach the final. De Grasse won silver in 20.02, behind only Jamaican great Usain Bolt.

Brown, though, didn't come home empty-handed. Along with De Grasse, he won bronze as a member of Canada's 4x100 relay team.

Recent surge

Today, the script has flipped.

Brown, now 27, is the two-time defending Canadian champion in both the 100 and 200, improving his times each year. De Grasse didn't run the 200 this year, which pushed Brown to focus even more on the 100 and beat his friend and rival.

He ran a 9.96 at the Canadian national championships in Montreal last month, tying a personal best.

He also just set a personal best in the 200, running 19.95 at a Diamond League event in Switzerland, nearly 0.5 seconds faster than what he did in the Olympic semifinals. It's worth mentioning that De Grasse finished ahead of Brown in that exact race, running 19.92.

WATCH | Brown defeat De Grasse in the 100m at the Canadian championships:

Aaron Brown edged Andre De Grasse in a photo finish to capture his second consecutive 100-metre title at the Canadian track and field championships. 0:21

And De Grasse's personal bests in both events are still faster, however both came at those 2016 Games. He ran a 9.91 in the 100 final and a 19.80 in the 200 semis. Injuries have so far prevented De Grasse from improving on those.

But even with his recent string of wins over De Grasse, Brown knows that he still might not be the biggest name in Canadian sprinting.

"If I'm still in the shadows, that's OK, I'm used to that," Brown said at the Canadian championships. "Even if I'm getting more recognition, I like to keep that chip-on-my-shoulder mentality because that's helped me in training when I need to push myself that extra edge."

Brown competes next on Saturday in Paris, where he is scheduled to the run the 200 and as part of Canada's 4x100 relay.

Now with less than a year to go before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, one thing is for certain. Regardless of who is in whose shadow, there will be more than one Canadian sprinter people will be talking about.