This article is reserved for subscribers
Glenroy Gilbert vividly remembers the development of his friends Donovan Bailey, Bruni Soren, and Robert Esme with him from 25 years ago in Atlanta.
TheThe Canadian 4x100m relay stunned the United States, the Olympic champion and host country, by winning the gold medal at the 1996 Games. Panic reigned on the court.
“Looks like it was just yesterday…Then I looked in the mirror and saw graying in my hair.” I realize that a quarter of a century has passed. “It’s a tough comeback,” said Gilbert, the former Ottawa runner who has now led the Canadian track and field team for four years.
At first glance, the latter still looks like an amazing 52-year-old man.
We have the impression that he could enjoy a friendly race with triple Olympic medalist Andre de Grasse and Aaron Brown, the two big names in sprinting right now in the country.
It makes Glenroy Gilbert laugh.
“There is no chance for me to run with them. I know my limits. I don’t think I can climb more than 10 meters before one of my muscles gives way! I now prefer hiking!”
What else makes him smile these days? A list of 57 athletes that Canada will send to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“A very strong and diverse group. You have a lot of experience as young people. We have good endurance athletes. We have high hopes for the high jump. Our runners are fast. All around, we’re in a good position to see good performances,” Gilbert says.
“I see we get medals. I think every day there will be athletes to watch. That’s what makes it all so exciting. We have many of the 8 best athletes in the world.”
It remains to be seen if we can see a repeat of the 1996 games. Bailey won the gold in the 100 metres. A few days later, he helped Canada become Olympic champion in the 4x100m relay.
De Grasse set the fourth fastest time in the 100 meters in 2020, stopping the clock at 9.97 seconds.
The Canadian relay is the third fastest this season.
“I think it’s realistic to say we have the puzzle pieces to achieve this feat in the sequence,” Gilbert said. Our guys are all familiar with each other. It’s kind of like in 1996. It helps a lot. There is still work to be done between now and the Games. It has been difficult in the past year and a half to meet and train. Fortunately, we will have a few more practice sessions before our races. “
Members of the Canadian track and field team will debut in Japan on Sunday.
“We will arrive in three waves. Our athletes can be found all over the world right now,” confirms Gilbert.
And who says that Canada will be one of the countries most affected in sports by the epidemic in these games? The Olympic champion is different.
At the sporting level, all countries have been affected to varying degrees by this epidemic. Not all countries were able to prepare as they wished. We did our best. I’m still confident in our team. As mentioned earlier, they are a dynamic, solid group with a lot of experience. Some athletes have been too creative to stay ahead of their game. “
Interesting fact: Head coach, 25 years after winning the gold medal at the Games