Canada’s Fastest Man Slows Down to Give Back
Six-time Olympic medalist & Canada’s fastest man, Andre De Grasse, is an athlete, father, author, and philanthropist who leads by example.
Six-time Olympic medalist and Canada’s fastest man – Andre De Grasse – represented Team Canada in Tokyo and brought home a gold and two bronze medals, with his gold medal finish breaking two Canadian track records. Winning medals has made Andre a champion on the track but his commitment to his family and community make him a champion in life.
More than an athlete, Andre is a father, author, philanthropist and a proud Canadian who leads by example. He is the first to recognize that the roots of his success are tied to all those who supported and empowered him through his journey. So much so that in 2018 he established the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation (ADGFF) and committed to inspiring and empowering youth to dream big and providing them access to sport, education and healthcare to reach their own unique potential.
“I have been blessed with an incredible support system and resources, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the countless believers,” says Andre De Grasse. “This foundation and the programs we support provide me with a platform to pay it forward and give others similar opportunities I had growing up and during my athletic journey so far.”
Credit: Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
At P&G, we have long been honoured and humbled to tell the stories of amazing athletes and all those who have supported them on the journey to their Olympic and Paralympic dreams. When those dreams were put on hold in 2020, we were particularly inspired by the generous athletes who put aside their own disappointment and instead stepped up to lead with love and serve their communities, showing that their goodness is their greatness.
Like many, Andre did not dwell on the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but rather through the Foundation supported a variety of groups struggling during the pandemic. Activities included donations to food banks and teaming up with his partners to provide mattresses to tired doctors and nurses, and new tailored suits for young black professionals entering the work force. He also enjoyed the extra time at home with his young family and inspired by his daughter Yuri, he wrote a motivational children’s book entitled RACE WITH ME! showing children that the play, attitudes and activities they love are key to shaping their success as grown ups.
After the events of 2020 and having returned from Tokyo, Andre has had a lot to reflect on for his quest to pay it forward.
Credit: Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
“For me, every medal and win, and every competition brings with it a great sense of gratitude and a responsibility to share the experience and my learnings, especially with my children and the wonderful kids we reach through the Foundation,” says De Grasse. “I believe in the power of reciprocal inspiration and these kids continue to inspire me to do my best and much like in a relay race, you are entrusted with the baton, but you also pass on the baton. That is the power of giving back and of giving of oneself.”
When asked how he translates his achievements and experience at the Olympic Games with the youth he is trying to reach and impact, he offers the following life lessons that apply on and off the track:
- Nothing happens overnight: you need to put in the hard work and persevere to make things happen
- Focus on getting better every day: strive for your personal best, which is what you can control and build on. And go back to point #1
- Find the silver lining in each hardship: there are always going to be ups and downs and that's what sports – and life – are about. And that is when you learn the most about yourself and what it will take to overcome obstacles
- Believe in yourself: always have faith and if you “speak it into existence” and mean it, good things will happen. And do allow others to believe in and support you
- Be about kindness: always lead by example regardless of where you are in your journey and appreciate all those around you. There is power in reciprocity and ‘paying it forward’
Andre has become an exceptional role model to his children and a new generation of youth, and serves as an inspiration to all Canadians as someone who leads with love. Learn more about Andre’s efforts for the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation at www.andredegrasse.com and consider taking part in his journey to inspire and energize tomorrow’s athletes, leaders and fellow philanthropists.
At P&G we support high-performance athletes like Andre across Canada through the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which strives to equip athletes with the tools and environments they need to succeed. This includes funding to allow increased access to the best training facilities in Canada by funding Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Networks (COPSIN) from coast to coast, which benefits Olympic and Paralympic athletes. By taking action on P&G Good Everyday, you can #LeadWithLove and join our efforts while getting rewarded. Learn more about how you can make an impact today.
Lead photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images