Red Deer’s Jeremiah Lauzon earns chance to compete for spot on Canada’s 2020 Olympic relay team

Jeremiah Lauzon is still a bit of a longshot for an Olympic appearance.

At 19, the Red Deer sprinter understands his window for making the 2020 Olympics in Toyko is thumbnail-sized.

The 2024 Games in Paris, France, are more likely, but this winter the young runner got an unexpected surprise.

Lauzon was invited by Athletics Canada to compete as part of the Canadian Olympic Developmental 4X100 metre relay team, a group of 11 runners vying for a chance to represent Canada in Toyko next fall.

Typically, Canada will take the top five 100 metre runners from the Canadian Olympic Trials, throw them together and hope for success at the Olympics. Athletes like the Andre Degrasse’s and Aaron Brown’s of the world, who are two of Canada’s top sprinters.

This year, that collection of 11 runners, including Degrasse and Brown, will attend a number of training camps and meets over the next 10 months.

Lauzon, who is typically a 200m runner, got the unexpected call earlier this month and needed to make a decision by December about whether he wanted the opportunity or not.

“One thing we looked at is this is a great, great opportunity for Jeremiah to be on teams with Andre and Aaron and listen and learn and be exposed to all of their assets,” said Ron Hewer, Lauzon’s coach in Red Deer.

“Then four years down the road, if Toyko doesn’t work out as an individual in the 200 and or on the relay team, those assets that he gains from these camps and exposure, the dividends are so powerful, come his Paris debut.”

Part of the reason for the surprise is Lauzon’s best 100m time is nothing special. At 10.80 seconds, he’s ranked just barely inside the top 50 in Canada.

It is his 200m prowess that Hewer figures helped Lauzon earn the opportunity, as he is one top runners in the country on the curve and only getting better. His best 200m time of 20.90 seconds ranks ninth nationally among sprinters.

Factoring in the opening and third leg of the 100m relay, where runners need to run on a curve instead of a straightaway, it is easy to see why Hower ultimately thinks Lauzon will get a look with the top 100m in Canada.

“Jeremiah is one of the best bend runners in the country, including Andre (Degrasse), This is why he got selected,” said Hewer.

Lauzon first arrived on the national scene when he met the qualifying standard for the 2019 U20 Pan Am Games and the 2019 NACAC U23 Championships in the summer. His coach hopes these training camps will help raise his profile among Canada’s best.

The first relay team camp is in St. George’s, Grenada in late January. The other camps will take place in Louisiana, Florida, and Tokyo.

Lauzon is currently attending Simon Fraser University and will begin the collegiate season later this winter, in January with an indoor meet.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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