SEARCH 2000 Games

Friday, September 22, 2000
PROFILE: Donovan Bailey
Bailey's out

By JIM MORRIS -- Canadian Press
 SYDNEY -- There was no beaming smile this time. Instead, Donovan Bailey fought back the tears.

 The reigning Olympic champion sucked air and looked exhausted as he failed to advance past the second round of the 100 metres Friday evening.

 Bailey, who has fought injuries for the last two years and had been a doubtful starter Friday because of a nasty respiratory virus, shut it down about halfway down the track and finished last in his heat in 11:36 seconds.

 "It's not how it's supposed to be," said Bailey, who between coughs had to struggle to control his emotions.

 "The last time I was here (at the Olympics) I was the king."

 As hard as it was to keep his composure, Bailey gave a sad smile.

 "Really hard," he said.

 Bailey said he had enough air for only 20 metres.

 "I got on the blocks this morning knowing I was feeling flat," he said.

 "I hadn't slept and I couldn't breathe. But I was in between the lanes and it's all about getting on the track and trying to fight to the line first."

 Teammate Bruny Surin, overcoming a sore hamstring, advanced to the semifinals when he finished third in his heat in 10.20 seconds. But it took its toll.

 Surin said his hamstring hurt so much he was "50-50" to run in the semifinals.

 "The chances are if I still run there is a risk of injury," said the Montreal sprinter, a runner-up at last year's world championships.

 "Apparently if I injured the same area gain that can be a career end. I'm going to evaluate and I want to see if I can still run tomorrow. So far it's 50-50."

 Surin said he's been taking five hours of therapy a day for the last three weeks.

 The condition of the two battered sprinters is bad news for the Canadian relay team, which is the defending Olympic champion.

 "I think if there's someone that's healthier than I am, then I think that they deserve the opportunity to run," Bailey said.

 Surin almost didn't make it out of the first round in the morning.

 At first it was believed the Montreal sprinter had failed to advance after his time left him fourth in his heat and tied for the final qualifying position with Austria's Martin Lachkovics at 10.41 seconds.

 The top three finishers from each of the 11 morning heats plus the seven next best times advanced to Friday night's second round.

 So officials went to thousandths of a second, where Surin's time was 10.404 compared to Lachkovics's 10.409. Surin got the nod, but eventually Games officials sent the Austrian to the next round as well.

 There was no problem for world champion Maurice Greene on the day. He won his second-round heat, then waited near the finish line for Sydney housemate and training partner Ato Boldon, who won his heat in 10.11 seconds.

 Greene showed class when he went back on the track to embrace Bailey after the Canadian finished his heat.

 "It would always be good to have the defending Olympic champion in the final, but unfortunately we won't have that," Greene said later. "He's sick. He came out here and he gave it his best."

 The American star understands Olympic disappointment. He failed to qualify for the 1996 Olympics and drove 18 hours from his home in Kansas City to Atlanta to see the Games. During the 100 final, he sat in the stands and cried uncontrollably.

 Montreal's Nicolas Macrozonaris finished fifth in his first-round heat in 10.45 and failed to advance.

 For Macrozonaris, just walking into a stadium packed with 110,000 people in his first Olympics was a thrill. He also ran on a strained hamstring.

 "I achieved making the team, running on the track and being able to walk off the track normally and with a smile on my face," he said.

 Also Friday, American sprinter Marion Jones began her quest for five gold medals with a leisurely win in 11.20 seconds in her first-round heat. A few hours later, she was much more intense as she moved into the semifinals by winning her second-round heat in 10.83 seconds.

 That time was better than 14 of the male 100-metre runners in the first round.

 Also reaching the semifinals was Merlene Ottey, a seven-time Olympic medallist who substituted at the last minute for teammate Peta-Gaye Dowdie -- leading to protests by some Jamaican team members.

 Race walker Bernardo Segura of Mexico, world record-holder for the event, was disqualified in the 20-kilometre walk. The gold went to Robert Korzeniowski of Poland.

 Segura, who denied breaking any rules, was accused of improperly breaking contact with the ground three times during the race.

 Olympic officials rejected a Mexican appeal of the disqualification, which moved Arturo Huerta of Toronto to 24th and Edmonton's Tim Berrett to 26th.

 "It didn't work out for me today," Huerta said. "At the start of the race somebody kicked me in the back of the leg. I couldn't regroup myself."

 There was disappointment for shot putter Brad Snyder of Windsor, Ont., who failed to advance to the final. He finished 13th, just missing the 12-man final. Arsi Harju of Finland won the shot put gold later Friday.

 American Michael Johnson rolled to an easy victory in his first-round heat of the men's 400 metres. Johnson, wearing gold shoes, finished in a leisurely 45.25 seconds and advanced to Saturday's second round.

 Cathy Freeman, seeking to become the first Aborigine to win an individual Olympic gold medal, received thunderous applause from her fellow Australians in the 110,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

 Freeman won her heat in 51.63 seconds. She has not lost a 400-metre race in three years and is even more of a favourite at the Sydney Games now that two-time defending champion Marie-Jose Perec has fled the Olympics.

 Also advancing to the second round of the women's 400 were Regina's Ladonna Antoine and Foy Williams of Toronto.

 Antoine won her heat in a time of 51.78 seconds, leaving her 11th. Williams was clocked in 2.94 for 30th spot overall.

 Antoine admitted she surprised herself with her result.

 "I was around the corner and I said 'hey, nobody has caught up to me yet,'" she said. "I thought somebody got hurt but it felt good and I just kept going."

 Antoine raced just minutes after Freeman and said it was a thrill to be on the same track as the Australian.

 "It's a great honour," said Antoine, who has graduated from Utah State and now trains in San Diego. "I think she's an amazing athlete. When I'm done I'm hoping I can get her autograph."

 Mark Boswell of Brampton, Ont., and Kwaku Boateng of Montreal both advanced to the final of the high jump.

 "I knew I could do it," said Boswell. "I knew why I was training all year."

 Brazilian Sanderlei Parrela won his opening round heat in the 400, three days after athletics' world governing body lifted a two-year drug suspension for a positive nandrolone test in June.

 The International Amateur Athletic Federation's ruling council decided to lift the ban because of doubts about the level of steroids found in the athlete's urine sample.

 World champion 800-metre runner Ludmila Formanova of the Czech Republic was the first track and field casualty Friday.

 She pulled up with a half-lap to go when she aggravated an ankle injury.
Donovan Bailey in the news
Bailey able to pub crawl
Bailey still weak after five days of rest
Canadians are relay hurting
Bailey in pictures
Out in Sydney
Hugging Maurice Greene
First heat okay
Sydney workout
All smiles
Hugging dad
Making a funny face
Tying his shoes
Working out
As a SUNshine Boy