By: Desmond Nugent, News On 6
COFFEYVILLE, Kansas- When a sprinter like Usain Bolt dominates his events in the Olympics like he did earlier this summer, not many people remember who finished behind him. But there was one sprinter chasing Bolt who got his start not far from Oklahoma.
Andre De Grasse is a sprinter who almost didn't come off the blocks, in fact, he was a last minute recruit.
"Whenever he came here his expectations and ours weren't very high, but from the first time we saw him actually run we knew we had something pretty special,” said Coffeyville Community College track head coach Craig Perry.
Assistant coach Robert Wood added, "Next day, he's telling me what happened in practice and what he had did. And we had some pretty good guys that year, had some guys run 10.5 and he left them in the workout."
De Grasse gained national attention during the 2014 National Junior Outdoor Championships after winning the 100 meters against the top-rated sprinter, former Oklahoma State football player Tyreke Hill.
After junior college, De Grasse transferred to USC. This summer, he won two bronze medals and a silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics, becoming the first Canadian in history to win three sprint medals.
Before attending Coffeyville, Andre had less than a year of track experience. And of all the athletes there, he's the first Olympian in his school's history.
“Buster Douglas (world championship boxer) went to school here, guys in the NFL and the NBA,” Wood stated. “He's our first Olympian."
Throughout his career De Grasse remains humble, never forgetting where his journey got started.
"He texted us throughout the Olympics,” said Perry. “After a race, we would send his congrats and he would text us right back.”
Wood says De Grasse is a good young man who’s only going to get better.