The nomadic life of a world class athlete can be lonely, and Canadian sprint star Andre De Grasse admits to missing home sometimes.
“There are times when I’m travelling alone when I’m kind of miserable. But I think that’s just everyone,” De Grasse says in the book “Glorious & Free, The Canadians.”
The 23-year-old from Markham, Ont., is one of 33 Canadians the book profiles who are “unabashedly, unapologetic, out there really living their lives,” said author Kim Bozak.
De Grasse said his 2016 season, his first on the international circuit after leaving the University of Southern California, was tough at times.
“It was something I wasn’t used to because I had been travelling as a school with USC, so I would always be with my teammates,” De Grasse said in an interview.
The three-time Olympic medallist, who missed the world championships in August with a hamstring injury, tried to fill the void last season by bringing along a friend or family member to his competitions.
“So that has been a pretty cool experience for them,” De Grasse said. “You can travel with your coach or your therapist, but it’s not the same as when you travel with your close cousins or friends.”
Paralympic champ Rivard opens up
Accompanied by intimate photos of the sprinter at his training base in Phoenix, the book touches on his faith — “I pray every day, when I wake up, when I go to sleep, every time I eat meals” — plus his love of fashion, his meteoric rise in the sport, and his unorthodox running style with his one flailing arm, and his upcoming foundation.
The inclusion of De Grasse in their visually beautiful and hefty 396-page coffee table book was a no-brainer for authors Bozak and Rita Field-Marsham.
“We wanted to uncover some of these unsung heroes,” Bozak said. “It’s easy, there’s lots of low-hanging fruit for amazing Canadian stories that are inspiring. But they’re told and they’re retold and we wanted to tell some new stories.”
Swimmer Aurelie Rivard, who captured four medals — three gold and a silver — at the Rio Paralympics, is among the profiles, and spoke candidly about her debilitating panic attacks, and the bullying she faced at a new school, because of her underdeveloped hand.
“What is so fascinating certainly from my point of view in both those interviews is the incredible loneliness of being a professional athlete,” Bozak said of Rivard and De Grasse.
Rivard recounts a year of bullying she suffered, including an incident one day at…