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Andre De Grasse returns to hometown high school where it all started

Markham, Ont. native Andre De Grasse returned to his old high school for the first time since winning three medals at the Rio Olympics.

Andre De Grasse

Three-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse returned to his hometown high school on Friday to hundreds of excited students and staff members. The 21-year-old Canadian was honoured at Milliken Mills High School in Markham, Ont. where he was first discovered as a track athlete.

Students, teachers and media met De Grasse as he made his return to the school for the first time since winning three medals at the Rio Olympics. There was a ceremony for De Grasse in the school’s gymnasium and staff also framed his old high school jersey.

De Grasse was a basketball player at the high school before the team folded and he was discovered as a potential track star. The rest is history as he went on to win the American collegiate championships and two gold at the Pan Am Games before his big performance in Rio a year later.

De Grasse, who now trains in Phoenix, won a silver medal in the men’s 200m and bronze in the men’s 4x100m relay and men’s 100m, finishing behind Bolt in all three events. The Canadian, who is also sponsored by Puma, is considered the next big thing in track and field. He is an early gold medal favourite for Tokyo 2020 as Bolt is expected to retire after the 2017 world championships in London.

During his return to Milliken Mills, De Grasse stressed the importance of education and hard work. He emphasized that after the Olympics he returned to school to finish the sociology degree that he was pursuing while at the University of Southern California.

After speaking to students, he went outside to the track where he took selfies and fielded media requests. De Grasse helped launch the school’s Terry Fox Run by doing a lap of the track. The run for cancer research is held annually with this year’s events taking place across the country on Sept. 18.

There will also be a parade on Sunday in Markham honouring De Grasse and other Olympians. The parade begins at Varley Gallery on Main St. Unionville and goes to the Pan Am Centre.