Beverley De Grasse talked to her son before his 200-metre race on Thursday. She wanted to know if he had pushed too hard against Usain Bolt in the semi-final the night before, and was hurting.
"You went out so hard," Ms. De Grasse said over the phone.
"Yes," Andre De Grasse answered, "but I still have a lot in me left."
Like a good son, De Grasse did not tell his mother a lie. He ran the 200-metre final to a strong silver-medal finish at 20.02, fast enough to earn a place at the pinnacle of sports competition as the sprinter to watch. He was surpassed only by a dominant Bolt, who clocked in at 19.78.
After he'd triumphed and draped himself in the Canadian flag, he strode around the track for a victory lap and saw his mother leaning over the railing in Section 124, waving at him frantically.
Andre De Grasse looked right at her, flashed a wide smile that bordered on a grin, and shrugged his shoulders as if to say: "Didn't I tell you, mom?"
"Oh my God, I feel so awesome. I predicted he probably would get the silver," she said moments later. "I'm really proud, he did great."
Beverley De Grasse had watched her naturally gifted son grow into a world-class runner. Now she was seeing him win his second medal of his first Olympic Games, after a bronze in the 100-metres.
Bolt is the undisputed king of the track, but 21-year-old De Grasse was not intimidated by him, challenging the Jamaican legend like an upstart chasing the crown. His mother sees the same innate quality in him.
"He just seems to have confidence, and he doesn't let any pressure get to him," she said before the race. "He just says that at the end of the day, we are runners and we are going to compete to the best of our ability."
"He is not intimidated. He loves to race and he loves to have fun," she said. "And I think that racing with Usain Bolt is a lot of fun for him."
She admitted it: She was probably more nervous before the race than her son was.
"He's always been a calm, composed kid when it comes to sports," she said. "He doesn't let too much bother him."
The trip from Markham, Ont., had a dreamlike quality for Beverley De Grasse.
A high-school sprinter in Trinidad, she had introduced her son to track when he was in fourth grade. He dropped it in favour of basketball, but returned to it as a 17-year-old. It was only four years ago that her son borrowed a pair of track spikes in high school to run in his first 100-metre race.
Now he was at his first Olympic Games. And he was standing on the podium with the eyes of the world upon him; the first Canadian to win two individual track medals in the same Olympics since 1932.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd be at the Olympic Games," his mother said, "much less watching my son compete."
She paused to take it in. "Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard." Words to live by for Andre De Grasse, whose possibilities are starting to look limitless.