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  • Mathew Silver

Calgary Sprinter Brings Home Bronze

Metro News, August 2016.Find the original article here.

Photo: Courtesy of The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

Amidst all of the uncertainty of the men’s 4x100-metre finals in Rio, Akeem Haynes knew one thing – the race would be over in a flash.

“We knew it would be fast,” the Crescent Heights High School alum said when contacted in Rio, “but at the same time it doesn’t matter who you’re against. We were still going for gold.”

Haynes, of course, is referring to the likes of Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, and Ryota Yamagata - just a few of the running elite that would occupy the lanes beside him and compete for Olympic glory.

Just as Haynes predicted, it was fast.  So fast that his team set a new national record of 37.64, and were still in fourth place when teammate Andre De Grasse crossed the finish line.

It looked like the Canadians would be held off the podium until the United States’ team was disqualified for an illegal baton exchange.  The Americans filed an appeal, which meant Haynes and his teammates would need to wait to find out their results.

The appeal was ultimately denied, and Haynes will return home on Tuesday with a bronze medal in tow, but if it weren’t for his high school track coach, Haynes might have chosen football over sprinting.

“Akeem was one of our stars,” said Ken Rose, Haynes’ coach at Crescent Heights.

According to Rose, Haynes had a number of universities interested in employing his lightning speed on the gridiron, but Rose implored him to weigh the long term prospects.

He told him that if he pursued football he could get a degree, but if he pursued sprinting he could set his sights on the Olympics.  Haynes took his coach’s advice, and the result was a bronze medal and the fastest 4x100 team in Canadian history.

And while it seems like Haynes would be satisfied with his success on the track, he still hasn’t lost sight of his football dreams.

Rose said that Haynes could certainly get a try out with a CFL team, and probably even make the cut.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Haynes.

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