Athletics — Targeting Tokyo 2020
2018 NACAC Championships – Gold Medalist, 4x100m; Silver Medalist, 200m
Canada's Aaron Brown ended the 2018 season full of confidence, as one of the top runners competing in the men's 200m and with a target on his back, as Canada's fastest man.
In June, the 26-year-old cracked the elusive 20-second barrier in the event when he raced to second place with a personal-best time of 19.98 seconds at the Oslo Diamond League meet.
Brown says his perseverance is one of the major reasons for his breakthrough this season.
The Toronto native was disqualified in the heats of the 200m at the 2017 IAAF Track and Field World Championships after stepping on the inside line of the bend.
"Believe it or not, it was kind of a positive…when I look back at it, I said, 'Ok, I performed the best that I have ever had at a World Championship. I ran 20.08 seconds before I got disqualified, was the first-place finisher in my heat, and usually at championships I'm not feeling that great,'" Brown said.
"I haven't been in position to be one of the top guys going into the next round."
Brown and his coach, Dennis Mitchell, went back to the drawing board this off-season and had a strong sit down as they discussed their plans for the following year.
Brown knew that if he truly wanted to be a contender in the 200m in Tokyo, 2018 had to be the year that he ran under 20-seconds.
The early results were promising with a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, multiple podium finishes in the Diamond League and a Canadian Championship in the 100m and 200m.
The biggest difference Brown has noticed is with his quick start, which has placed him in more favourable positions heading down the stretch.
But Brown sees room for improvement in the latter stages doing a mix of interval and endurance running to help him with his finish.
"The part that I've been pretty consistent with is the first 50m — driving and getting to the top of the turn in really good position — and then running off the curve carrying the speed that I've built," Brown said.
"I've been pretty good at that so far and I've been leading most of the races. It's just the last 50m that I still need to work on and that will take me to even faster times."
Brown also returns home as Canada's fastest man after topping Bismark Boateng and Andre De Grasse in the 100m finals at the Canadian Championships.
It was a title Brown previously owned in 2013 and reclaimed five years later.
"It's nice to have it back because it's something that you work hard towards. Being a double national champion heading towards 2020, that gives me a lot of confidence," Brown says.
In Tokyo 2020, he'll be ready to run under 20-seconds and right onto the Olympic podium.