By STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun
SYDNEY -- First, it looked as if Bruny Surin wasn't going to advance out of Round 1 of the 100-metre heats.
Then it appeared as though Surin might withdraw from the event he looked so forward to running at the Olympic Games.
Early this morning, Canadian officials were arranging for Surin to have an MRI on his injured hamstring to determine whether he should continue in what looks like a futile attempt to challenge for a medal at the most prestigious of track events.
The drama surrounding Surin added suspense to the normally uneventful opening round of qualifying for the 100 metres. Many of track and field's greatest stars were stunned by Surin's fourth-place finish in his heat in a time of 10.41.
It was a relatively pedestrian time -- just good enough to advance to the second round early this morning.
"When I saw him struggling, I thought, 'Man, I've got to run a little harder in my heat.' I don't want that happening to me,'' said Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago, one of the favourites to reach the podium. "You think, if that can happen to Bruny, it can happen to any of us.''
According to Canadian head coach Brent MacFarlane, Surin ran well all week in practice, showing no signs of injury.
"I think this is something that came from the race,'' MacFarlane said. "Our medical people are looking at him to determine what his status is."
American hopeful Jon Drummond, a friend of Surin, was hoping there was a chance the Canadian could continue.
"Before I came here, I had it in my mind who the eight people in the final would be and Bruny was one of them,'' Drummond said. "You don't want to see anyone come to the Olympics and have that happen to him.
"You want to run against the best field and that's Bruny. If he's out, it's unfortunate, man.''
Bailey advanced with a less-than-stellar time of 10.39 and also seemed to struggle. But his choppy sprint was no reason for analysis, world champion Maurice Greene said.
"You can't tell things by the first round,'' Greene said. "I don't read anything into it. You just have to get through. If you do that, you're still in the game.''