Surin won't make repeat mistake in sprint against Greene
SYDNEY (CP) -- He's run the race over and over in his mind, knowing what's going to happen but unable to change the outcome.
He sees himself launch out of the blocks like a rocket and, to his surprise, take the lead. The carefully devised race strategy is suddenly scrapped and for a heartbeat he's not sure what to do. It's in that fraction of a second doubt, that blink of hesitation, American Maurice Greene blows by and Bruny Surin loses the 100-metre final at last year's world champions in Spain.
He runs the race over and over in his mind, wishing he knew then what he knows now.
"If I were to be in the same situation this year, I wouldn't have lost that race," said Surin, who will begin his quest for an Olympic medal at the Sydney Games on Friday when the 100-metre heats begin (8:35 p.m. Thursday EDT, CBC).
"I anticipated that Maurice was going to be head of me. In the final, it was the only time I beat Maurice out of the blocks. After 30 or 40 metres, when I realized I was ahead of him, instead of coming up (out of the starting stance) slowly, I rushed it. At the end I got tight."
Greene won the world championships in a world-record time of 9.79 seconds. Surin, of Montreal, finished in 9.84, matching the previous world-record time teammate Donovan Bailey ran to win the gold medal in Atlanta.
Surin, defending Olympic champion Bailey and Nicolas Macrozonaris, of Montreal, who just turned 20, all come into the event with nicks.
Macrozonaris, who surprised everyone by running a 10.19 at the Canadian track and field championships, suffered a hamstring injury during training in Brisbane.
Bailey, 32, of Oakville, Ont., arrived in Sydney suffering from a viral infection. He has weakened to the point where he is unable to train properly.
Canada's golden hero from Atlanta has been on the comeback trail since tearing his Achilles tendon in 1998. He looked like he was returning to his Olympic form when he ran a time of 9.98 seconds on June 27 in Lucerne, Switzerland, but then suffered a hamstring injury on Aug. 1 and didn't compete at the Canadian championships.
He finished a disappointing sixth in 10.20 seconds at Berlin, the final major track event prior to the Olympics, while Greene ran a blistering 9.86 seconds, the fastest 100 metres this year.
Surin also has been on the mend since hurting his left hamstring at the Canadian championships, forcing him to withdraw from the final two major races before Sydney.
He said he's coming to the Games 95 per cent healthy.
"The times I was doing before my injury, I'm running the same times now," he said.
"When I'm running I feel a sharp pain but I'm not going to think about it. I can run, no problem."
Besides Surin, Canada also is a medal threat in high-jump with Mark Boswell, a silver medallist at the world championships.
The 100-metre final is Saturday and the high jump Sunday.
Surin, a soft-spoken man who has a laugh that starts in the pit of his stomach, doesn't have the high-strung, egomaniac temperament of many sprinters.
While his rivals strut and trash talk, Surin is content keep his mouth shut and make his feet go fast.
"I'm just doing my thing on the track," he shrugged. "I'm not looking for the spotlight, I'm not looking for celebrity and stuff like that. I could have said a lot of things in the past to get the spotlight, but that's just not for me."
After spending the last several years running in Bailey's shadow, Surin has a chance to step into the spotlight's glow at these Games. Sports Illustrated picks him to win the silver, behind Greene and in front of Nigeria's Francis Obikwelu.
"Track and field is not life and death," said Surin, who joked about joining the bobsled team for the 2002 Winter Games. "I'm very fortunate to be here. I want the gold medal. If it happens it happens. If it does not, life goes on.
"If I have the race I want, and I don't get to the final feeling any pain, I can say the gold medal is possible."