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.

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Watch Simone Biles, Nancy Kerrigan cha-cha on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Simone Biles made a rare misstep, but her performance on “Dancing with the Stars” was still plenty strong enough to survive the first elimination Monday.

The four-time Olympic champion gymnast got a step ahead of partner Sasha Farber on their cha-cha on the season’s second episode, leading to a lower score this week (29 out of 40) than the first week (32 out of 40).

“What you did was nice, just not together,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said.

“I don’t know if I necessarily felt it, but what I saw was beautiful,” added another judge, Julianne Hough.

Biles and Farber’s score tied for the fourth-highest of the 12 couples, after posting the highest score the previous Monday. Biles is trying to join Shawn Johnson and Laurie Hernandez as gymnasts to win the Mirrorball Trophy.

Meanwhile, two-time Olympic medalist figure skater Nancy Kerrigan scored 28 points with partner Artem Chigvintsev for a second straight week. They also advanced.

Judge Len Goodman said Kerrigan “lost a bit of control here and there.”

“I think the thing that got to you was your nerves,” Inaba said. “In your first half of your routine you were a little bit off your step. … As the dance progressed, I saw you find yourself.”

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U.S. senators speak up as women’s hockey worlds near with no resolution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey’s executive director Monday over their concerns about the treatment of the women’s national team.

Players have threatened to boycott the upcoming world championships over a wage dispute. The senators, all Democrats, urged David Ogrean to resolve the matter and ensure the team receives “equitable resources.” They cited the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.

USA Hockey’s board of directors meets Monday, and players said Sunday night they hope there’s a deal.

The senators, all Democrats, joined a chorus of support that includes unions representing players from the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Those organizations said over the weekend they stood with the women’s team and criticized USA Hockey for attempting to find replacement players.

Prominent NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted Sunday, “Word circulating among NHL players that American players will refuse to play in men’s World Championships in solidarity with the women.”

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with U.S. captain Meghan Duggan. He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

The U.S. is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

In negotiations over the past 15 months, players have asked for a four-year contract that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. The senators’ letter notes the $6,000 that players earn around the Olympics and USA Hockey’s $3.5 million annual spending on the men’s national team development program and other discrepancies.

“These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics,” the senators wrote.

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. They said the agreement has the “potential to be a game changer for everyone.”

The letter was signed by: Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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