Bailey talks like conqueror
By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
Donovan Bailey will advance on Berlin today, fully confident that he has finally liberated his body of pain and injury.
The Olympic 100-metre champion finished second at a meet in Thessaloniki, Greece, yesterday in 10.32 seconds, against a headwind of 1.8 metres per second. It was a significant improvement from his two eighth-place finishes in the past week, at Gateshead, England, and Brussels.
"I'm good today," Bailey said from his hotel in Thessaloniki. "That would have been a 10 or 10.1 run (without the wind)."
Bailey, 32, will compete in at least one more meet before heading Down Under to the Canadian team's pre-Olympic training camp at Couran Cove, near Brisbane. Tomorrow he'll take part in the prestigious ISTAF 2000 Golden League competition in Berlin and probably a small meet in France on Sunday.
Veteran Dennis Mitchell, 34, won yesterday in 10.29, seconds with fellow American Coby Miller, 23, third in 10.36.
Bailey's previous time was a dismal 10.46 on Monday in Gateshead. He has struggled to recapture his top form since a hamstring injury on Aug. 1. The Oakville sprinter ran a spectacular 9.98 seconds on June 27 in Lucerne, Switzerland, but has posted a series of slower times since.
The outspoken Bailey was decidedly upbeat yesterday. He said he has been bothered in recent weeks by a sciatic nerve problem, causing pain down the left side of his back. The discomfort has affected his stride and his top-end speed, forcing him to shut down midway through his previous two races.
"My back was locked, causing it to move all in one motion and not in symmetry," he said.
Bailey said the arrival of Mark Lindsay, his chiropractor/physiotherapist, was just what he needed.
After being adjusted, treated with acupuncture and active-release therapy, Bailey felt like a new man. And despite average times recently, he said he is ready to do good things at the Sydney Olympics.
"I'm getting excited now," he said.
"Tell the average guy on the street to stick by the TV set and watch. I never make predictions, but I will be ready in Sydney. That's one guarantee I can make."
Bailey said that he "uncorked" a huge sprint after the official race yesterday, although he had no way of knowing what the actual time would have been.
"Let's just say there were a few smiles, including my own," he said.
As for being considered an underdog in Sydney, Bailey said: "That's all right. I grew up to fear no one except God. That's what my mom (Daisy) taught me."
Brampton's Mark Boswell won the high jump in Thessaloniki with a jump of 2.32 metres. Kwaku Boateng of Montreal was third in 2.23.