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In between the images of Jerome Blake standing on the medal podium or sprinting down the monitor, there are style images of him posing in a sheepskin coat on a abandoned street, or a button-up shirt between sand dunes.
The Canadian sprinter, who’s additionally a mannequin, is as snug in a designer swimsuit as a track-and-field singlet.
“Vogue is sort of a factor for me, it’s one factor I actually love other than sports activities, so I put a whole lot of effort into it, it’s one factor I actually attempt to implement into every little thing I do,” mentioned the 6-foot-3 Blake.
His favorite fashion icons are NBA guard Russell Westbrook and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. He mentioned Canadian basketball participant Kia Nurse and fellow NBA participant Sue Fowl have “nice shoe recreation.”
“Folks with actually good fashion, they at all times say you costume the way in which you need to play,” he added. “So that you costume nicely, you are feeling good and you’re feeling good, you look good, you compete good, in order that’s how I take a look at it.”
The 26-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., who has raced within the shadows of Canadian sprinters Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown for the previous few seasons, has been greater than good this yr.
Blake turned some heads when he beat a star-studded lineup that included American star Noah Lyles, his cousin and Jamaican star Yohan Blake, plus Brown within the 100 metres in Bermuda.
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He beat Yohan Blake once more late final month, profitable the 200 on the Ostrava Golden Spike.
“Coming into this yr, I used to be much more centered, and simply extra decided on what I needed this yr, as a result of I really feel like final yr, I didn’t actually give myself a good probability,” Blake mentioned. “I used to be new and I assumed, ‘Oh, it’ll come simple,’ however quickly realized it’s not going to return as simple as I assumed.”
Whereas De Grasse was compelled the skip the Canadian championships as a consequence of COVID-19, the 100 and 200 occasions at this weekend’s Canadian championships may very well be a good battle between Brown and Blake.
Blake initially did lengthy leap, excessive leap and the 400 hurdles whereas rising up in Buff Bay, Jamaica. His household moved to the Okanagan a number of years in the past and he acquired his Canadian citizenship in 2018.
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He moved to Florida after the 2020 season to coach with Brown and American coach Dennis Mitchell.
“His first yr (with Mitchell) was sort of spotty, was everywhere in the map, which is regular for an athlete adapting to a brand new coaching plan and coaching atmosphere,” mentioned Canadian head coach Glenroy Gilbert.
“So now issues are literally beginning to quiet down a bit, he’s beginning to really put collectively races, plus he’s getting extra assured, he’s capable of run with a few of the massive guys.
“And he’s received massive aspirations for not simply right here on the Canadian championships, but additionally world championships and Commonwealth Video games.”
Blake is frustratingly hovering on two milestones: his greatest 100 time is 10 seconds flat. His 200 time is 20.04.
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“I used to be extra annoyed with (the 200), as a result of I really feel like 19 is a magical quantity, to run 19 may be very spectacular, not lots of people have run 19,” he mentioned. “I’m extra excited to run 19 than I’m to run 9 seconds.”
He really did run a 19-second 200 final yr, however the time didn’t depend due to the monitor configuration.
He gained the 200 on the Adidas Enhance Boston Video games, however the race had no nook, only a straight 200 metres on a raised monitor on the street. His time of 19.89 was the fifth-fastest in historical past on a straight 200-metre monitor.
“I feel that’s one of many longest races I’ve ever run in my whole life,” Blake laughed. “A straight 200, you’re trying, like ‘OK, the place’s the end line?’ At one level, you’re like, ‘OK, I ought to simply cease now.’”
Whereas Blake may appear to be a late bloomer, he has climbed the worldwide ranks swiftly since profitable gold in each the 100 and 200 metres on the 2017 Canada Summer time Video games.
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“I feel there’s a time and place for every little thing, that’s how I take a look at it, it was simply the proper time,” Blake mentioned. “I really feel like as a result of I didn’t have the normal approach of arising, there’s no stress on me, kind of simply having enjoyable and simply studying from the people who find themselves forward of me.”
Brown, Blake and De Grasse have all certified for the 100 and 200 metres on the world championships subsequent month in Eugene, Ore.
And their relay staff that gained silver on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — Brendon Rodney was the fourth runner — must be a favorite for a podium efficiency there once more.
“Aaron’s expectation . . . he’s in all probability going to attempt to win each occasions (on the Canadian championships). Andre will not be right here, so he’s going to strive to do this. I’m fairly certain that Jerome goes to have one thing to say about that,” mentioned Gilbert.
The 100 remaining is scheduled for Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, B.C., whereas the 200 remaining is Sunday.
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