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Saturday, September 30, 2000

In very fast company

Adrian against Greene


 SYDNEY -- The guy who ran anchor looks like an accountant. Glasses. Demeanour. Whole bit.

 Actually he's a hurdler.

 They had to send a hurdler out to do the job that Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin had the hissy-fit, ego-fight about costing Canada a chance for three straight gold medals at the World Championships in Athletics last year in Seville.

 What's wrong with this picture? Adrian Woodley standing beside Maurice Greene waiting for the baton. O' Canada. Our home and native land ...

 It was pretty pathetic.

 Unless you were Woodley.

 Hey, why not? What's to lose? Something to tell your grandchildren about. 'Honest son, I ran anchor for the defending Olympic Games gold medal 4x100 relay team back in the year ought, ought in Sydney, Australia.'

 Woodley, at least, didn't pop up into the air every 10 metres.

 "No sticks,'' he said.

 "It was a lot easier.''

 The tough part was looking around him and seeing the famous faces.

 "I looked at Maurice,'' he said of the fastest man in the world.

 "It was a huge thrill.

 "I'm a hurdler. I'm not a sprinter.

 "If somebody sends me a picture with Maurice, that would be nice.''

 Woodley said that other than the company which surrounded him "it was just a track meet'' and he used to run relays when he was in high school and ...

 Canada, which had lost Bailey and Surin after they came up lame in the 100-metre races, then lost Nick Macrozonaris after Canada was the last of 16 teams to qualify for the semifinals.

 Yo, Adrian!

 The Canadians finished sixth in the semifinal, beating out Thailand and Nigeria (the latter not crossing the finish line).

 "He did a superb job,'' said Gilbert of the hurdler at anchor.

 "We ran better than we did in the morning heat with a hurdler on the end. In the end that was our season's best and we didn't have two of our big guns,'' he said of Surin and Bailey, the latter reported headed home but spotted shopping in Sydney by a Canadian journalist.

 "I'm happy,'' said Gilbert.

 "But it is ridiculous. We spoke about this possibility back at the Canadian championships in Victoria. We talked about the need to bring along a couple more sprinters in case something like this happened.''