Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Andre De Grasse Juggles Newfound Stardom with World Championship Preparation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Andre De Grasse Juggles Newfound Stardom with World Championship Preparation

Article excerpt

De Grasse adjusts to life as superstar

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TORONTO - Two nights after Andre De Grasse powered Canada to a gold medal at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, the 22-year-old was tucked away in the corner of a rooftop bar in Toronto's upscale entertainment district.

At the launch party for DTK Men's Power Issue, the Canadian sprinter, who appears on the magazine's cover, was the star of the show.

Wearing a slim-cut blue suit with ankle-length pants over a black T-shirt -- Hugo Boss had dressed him for the event -- he blended in seamlessly with the crowd of reedy models and stylish fashion executives.

Olympic champion Donovan Bailey and performance artist Istvan Kantor, who's known for spraying vials of his own blood on walls of the world's most famous museums, were among the party-goers. Kantor wore blue-tinted glasses and a mouthful of grillz. The word "NEOISM" is tattooed down the back of his head.

"I feel really comfortable," De Grasse said. "I don't just want to be defined on the track. I want to be known for off the track things too."

It's been a whirlwind few months since De Grasse sprinted to three medals at the Rio Olympics. He spent the fall at USC finishing his degree. He travelled to Germany and Chile to do appearances for Puma, his main sponsor. He did the fashion shoot for DTK Men in Los Angeles.

"I think it only took about three to four hours. They said I'm really photogenic," he said, then laughed. "I'm not trying to be cocky or anything, that's what they said."

He has signed sponsorship deals with Gatorade and PricewaterhouseCoopers since Rio. He turned down many more opportunities.

"I think I've said no to probably 70 to 80 per cent of the opportunities, I've only capitalized on maybe 20 per cent of them," De Grasse said. "Overall, I've made good decisions on what I want to be known for."

De Grasse planned to spend early Wednesday morning receiving therapy and training before a scheduled photo shoot with Pizza Pizza, then an evening flight back to his home base in Phoenix.

Three months ahead of what will be a historic world championships in London in August, scheduling his time is a meticulous juggling act for his managers and his coach Stu McMillan. …

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