JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Canadian sprint star and new gold medalist Andre De Grasse returned Monday to Jacksonville from Tokyo.
Family, friends and neighbors welcomed back De Grasse with cheers and hugs. There was also a tribute from U.S. Rep. Al Lawson’s office.
“It’s just a great feeling, you know, just coming back home, my second home,” De Grasse said. “Of course, Canada is always my home, but this is my second home, living in Florida, so it’s just great to be back.”
Last week, De Grasse powered past a pair of Americans to finish the 200 meters in 19.62 seconds, winning his first gold at a major event after amassing two silvers and six bronzes at Olympics and world championships since 2015.
“To see him achieve something that he’s been hoping for, for two years almost, throughout the whole entire pandemic, and working for it regardless of the tracks that we like weren’t able to be on at certain times or being pushed off a grass field, I think it was great to be able to come full circle and get that gold medal and bring it back to Jacksonville,” said De Grasse’s girlfriend, Nia Ali, who won silver in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics.
De Grasse said he moved to Jacksonville from Arizona because his trainer who he puts a lot of trust in lives in Gainesville and put together a group of runners in North Florida.
And De Grasse is not planning to sit around after getting the gold. His next race is in two weeks in Eugene, Oregon.