London - Jamaican legend Usain Bolt is determined to bid a
golden farewell to his lustrous track career at the World Athletics
Championships in London but Canada's Andre de Grasse is eager to gatecrash the
The 22-year-old - who signed the most lucrative contract
offered to a track and field athlete in 2015 for a reported $9.8m with an extra
20m in potential bonuses - is looking to improve on his Olympic bronze in the
100m and silver in the 200m last year.
De Grasse, whose mother took on two jobs to help him pursue
his sporting dreams, admits the contract offer put pressure on him, especially
as it was with Bolt's kit provider Puma.
"To replace the greatest in Usain Bolt, I knew what I
was getting into," De Grasse told Monday's edition of the Daily Mail.
"I did have a bit of hesitation. Everyone can be
"I was thinking: 'Can I handle this and take on the
"I knew it would provide for myself and my family.
"I can't have fears or hold back, I want to relish
it," added De Grasse.
With Bolt opting not to run the 200m in London, De Grasse's
chance to deny the charismatic Jamaican a 12th world gold medal comes in the 100m,
provided he reaches Saturday's final.
De Grasse, who only took up athletics aged 17 after trying
his hand at basketball, says he needs to beat Bolt before he can be described a
"It's not a rivalry," he told the Daily Mail.
"He has dominated for so long. I've still not beaten
him - but I'd love to. To have a rivalry you have to have a back and forth.
"He is on his way out and a veteran. I'm trying to
De Grasse, who has shown some sparkling form this season
running a wind-assisted 9.69sec in the 100m at the Stockholm Diamond League
meeting, has come a long way since a troubled adolescence and being laughed at
when in his first effort at the shorter sprint he adopted a standing start.
"It was the sideways run-up like in basketball,"
said De Grasse.
"People in the crowd were laughing. I just looked down
He has barely looked back since then and off the track has
turned his life around and gained a degree in sociology - he bears a tattoo of
the word 'Hope' on his inner forearm.
"I don't believe the world is fair," he said.
"I've seen things all over the world whether it is Doha
or in Canada or America.
"I see how people live. You drive through
neighbourhoods on your way to events.
"Brazil was like that. You go past these slum parts and
it's not fair. If these kids had the opportunity or met someone to give them
the opportunity, things would be different."
However, before De Grasse can turn his attention to setting
the world to rights, he has other ambitions on the track.
"I want to be an Olympic champion, world champion,
maybe even a world record.
"I'm determined to be the best."