Canadian track coach told his sprinter to challenge Usain Bolt in a semifinal, and it backfired

Usain Bolt won his third straight Olympic gold in the 200-meter dash Thursday night.

Though Bolt wasn’t in love with his time, he ended up winning without much drama, exploding off the blocks and finishing with a time of 19.78 seconds, nearly .3 seconds better than Canada’s Andre De Grasse, who finished in second.

In doing so, Bolt also foiled De Grasse and his coach Stuart McMillan’s plan.

During the semifinal, Bolt and De Grasse shared what appeared to be a brotherly love-type moment, when Bolt, slowing down at the finish line, nearly had to sprint to finish ahead of De Grasse, who was running full speed. Afterward, they shared laugh at the moment, as Bolt wagged his finger at De Grasse.

Bolt, however, was not happy about being pushed, reportedly saying after the race, “I don’t know why he did that. You don’t need to run that fast.”

This was part of Canada’s plan. McMillan told Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden after the 200-meter final that they hoped to wear down Bolt:

“Our strategy was that Bolt has had some injuries this year. He’s not in the greatest shape this year. I told Andre, ‘Push him through the line. You’re younger. Maybe he won’t recover as fast as you do. Bolt doesn’t have the greatest record when he gets challenged.'”

This obviously backfired, to an extent. While Bolt did say after the race that didn’t run as fast as he wanted to, De Grasse’s move seemed to anger him, perhaps fuelling the rare, full-speed race from Bolt all the way through the finish line.

Furthermore, De Grasse admitted after the final that he also couldn’t go as quickly as he wanted.

“I felt like I had a great shot. I’m not sure if I used up too much energy yesterday and didn’t have anything left today. Coming home I just didn’t have the same push. I’m a little bit disappointed. I think I could have run a little bit faster.”

Bolt sneaked in a jab on De Grasse after the race, saying, “I really wanted to go faster. I came in with that mindset. I think it would have helped if I had somebody faster in front of me, to really pull me, to run out of the corner a little faster.”

Ultimately, nobody could push the fastest man in the world far enough to actually gain an advantage on him. If anything, De Grasse and McMillan’s strategy proved that any race against Bolt is a race for second place.

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