Canada sprint sensation Andre De Grasse believes he can compete with Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin

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If anybody can spoil the Usain BoltJustin Gatlin showdown at the World Championships in August, it may be a Canadian who was 9 years old when Bolt and Gatlin debuted at the Olympics.

“I feel like I can be competitive with these guys,” Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse said in a media teleconference Thursday, according to the Canadian Press. “I’ve just got to put my mind to it and feel confident that I can go out there and beat these guys. I can’t be afraid of them just because they are gold medalists. I have to go out there and try to make a name for myself as well.”

De Grasse, 20, completed what NBC Olympics analyst Ato Boldon called the best sprint double in history at the NCAA Championships last Friday.

In Eugene, Ore., the USC junior won the 100m in 9.75 seconds (video here) and, 45 minutes later, won the 200m in 19.58 seconds (video here).

“My phone is still blowing up,” De Grasse said six days later of the reaction.

The times do not count for records because De Grasse benefitted from tailwinds of 2.7 and 2.4 meters/second, above the legal maximum 2.0 meters/second.

In the 100m, only Usain Bolt, Tyson GayYohan BlakeAsafa Powell and Justin Gatlin have run faster in legal wind conditions.

In the 200m, only Bolt, Blake, Michael Johnson and Walter Dix have been faster in legal conditions.

De Grasse’s personal bests in legal conditions are 9.97, making him the No. 3 Canadian all time behind 1996 Olympic champion Donovan Bailey and 1995 and 1999 World silver medalist Bruny Surin, and 20.03, a Canadian record.

He’s cut .18 off of his 100m personal best this year and .35 off his 200m personal best. This for a Markham, Ontario, native who reportedly didn’t start sprinting until May 2012.

De Grasse plans to run at the Canadian Championships in Edmonton the first weekend of July, then the 100m and 200m at the Pan American Games in Toronto later next month and the 100m (but not the 200m) at the World Championships in Beijing in late August.

De Grasse hasn’t turned professional yet, leaving open the possibility to return to USC for his senior track season. He’s been offered a seven-figure shoe deal, according to the Canadian Press.

At Worlds, De Grasse may be the biggest threat to Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion and fastest man in 2014 (9.77) and 2015 (9.74), and Bolt, whose 2009 world record is 9.58. Gatlin is 13 years older than De Grasse. Bolt is eight years older.

The other fastest men this year — Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay — are 32 years old.

Yohan Blake is running scared, coach says

Despite blade trouble, Nathan Chen leads men at Skate America

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Nathan Chen leads the men’s field at Skate America after tallying 104.12 points, a new personal best, on Friday night.

During the six-minute warm-up before the final group of skaters, Chen could be seen conferring with his coach, Rafael Arutunian, about his blade. He explained on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast that during the warm-up, Arutunian manipulated the blade to fix the edge. They plan on playing with it again so it’s better for Saturday’s free skate.

“There’s a lot of points that I could have gotten last year and I’m making sure I take care of them this year,” Chen said of his personal best, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “The score is still not that close to some of the top men currently, but that’s something that I know is attainable and it’s something I’m going to work toward.”

Arutunian’s other pupil in the men’s field, Adam Rippon, is in second place behind Chen with a personal best of his own – 89.04 points. Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in third place after the short with 87.51 points.

The third American in the field, Ross Miner, popped a triple Axel and didn’t receive any credit for the element. He tallied 71.59 points and sits in eighth place heading into the free.

The free skate will determine which skaters earn a berth to the Grand Prix Final in Japan in two weeks. Chen, despite being a favorite for the Skate America title, can finish anywhere among the top four for a berth to the Final. Voronov can also finish in the top four to make it to the Final. Rippon needs to finish anywhere on the podium.

Plus, with reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and his training partner Javier Fernandez (a two-time world champion himself) out of the Grand Prix Final, the podium there is wide open. Patrick Chan, a three-time world champion and the Sochi silver medalist, won’t be at the Grand Prix Final either.

MORE: Skate America TV Schedule

Earlier Friday, in the pairs field, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford scored 75.37 to lead the field after the short program.

China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao followed for second with 73.67 points. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who represent Germany, earned 72.55 points for third place after the short program. All three teams have a chance to qualify for the exclusive Grand Prix Final should the podium stand is after Saturday’s free skate. Even with a shakeup among the top three, it is likely that they will all qualify.

The top American team was married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 64.27 and are fourth after the short. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier tallied 63.04 (sixth) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay are eighth with 57.18 points.

MORE: Bruno Massot earns German citizenship

Massot gets German citizenship, path cleared for Pyeongchang

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Bruno Massot learned Thursday he has passed his German citizenship test, clearing the way for him and partner Aliona Savchenko to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Massot was born in Caen, France, and qualified for the 2014 Sochi Games on the French team, but he was held out of the Olympics because partner Daria Popova did not gain French citizenship in time.

He has since partnered with Savchenko, a Sochi participant, and been working to become a German citizen. This was his third time taking the German citizenship test, and the final time he would be able to qualify for citizenship in time for the Olympics.

“It’s really different,” Massot told The Associated Press, “because I don’t have this now anymore in my head, this question like, `I will be blocked again, or not?”‘

Massot’s naturalization ceremony will take place next Wednesday. Massot and Savchenko are in Lake Placid competing at Skate America this week.

MORE: Skate America preview, TV schedule