Bailey hit with virus
By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
SYDNEY -- Defending Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey is fighting a viral infection and is in dire straits two days before the 100-metre heats.
"He was pretty down when I saw him," Ray Flynn, Bailey's agent, said last night. "He has a fever and a cold and is congested. He's sick."
Bailey, 32, did not join his mates on the Canadian team in training last night. Flynn said Bailey developed the infection a couple of days ago just before leaving the team's training base at Runaway Bay for Sydney.
"I feel very tired ... I've been in bed for the past two days hooked up to IV's," Bailey said. "I'll probably wait until the last minute to decide if I'm going to run. If I feel like I feel today, I wouldn't run."
However, after his teammates left the practice facility, Bailey late last night made his way there and walked the oval twice, stopping numerous times to catch his breath. He left the track hacking and coughing.
"It's just something you can't control," Bailey said. "The flu has been going around here."
One of the problems Olympic athletes face is a lack of medication available to them when they get sick. Many decongestants and pain-killers are classified as stimulants and therefore are on the International Olympic Committee's banned-drug list.
Canadian boxer Mike Strange, who fought early this morning, has been battling a flu and was frustrated he was unable to take his usual medication.
Bailey, whose best time this year was 9.98 seconds, has had a rough ride the past couple years. Two years ago, his career almost ended as a result of a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered while playing a game of pickup basketball.
Early this season, he hurt his hamstring at a meet in Stockholm and has spent the past couple of months trying to regain his top form.
And now he has come down with a serious infection.
Bailey won a pre-Olympic race in Runaway Bay last Sunday in a unspectacular 10.26 seconds.
Teammate Bruny Surin, the silver medallist in the 100 at the world championships, has not raced since the national championships last month because of a sore hamstring. The team's third entry in the 100-metre event, Montreal teenager Nicolas Macrozonaris, also has a sore hamstring and will be hard-pressed to run tomorrow night in the heats.