Surin puts Olympic defeat in perspective, vows to race again
By JIM MORRIS -- Canadian Press
SYDNEY -- It took less than two seconds for Bruny Surin to realize a life-time goal wouldn't be reached.
It took him just a little bit longer to put it all into perspective.
Surin felt the pain in his injured left hamstring burn through the freezing in his leg after about 12 strides and pulled up in a semifinal for the Olympic Games 100-metres Saturday night.
It was Surin's third and last Olympics. He'll return to his Montreal home without a medal but will be welcomed by something much more important.
"Of course I wanted to run the final and be a medallist, that would be great," said Surin, 33, a silver medallist at the 1999 world championships.
"It didn't happen here. Life goes on. I'm still alive. I have a great family. I always look at the good side of things."
American world record holder Maurice Green won the 100 metres final in 9.87 seconds, just three-100ths of a second short of breaking Donovan's Bailey's Olympic standard.
Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago was second in 9.99 seconds while Obadele Thompson of the Barbados was third in 10.04.
The schedule makers didn't do Surin any favours in the semifinal. He found himself lining up in a group with Greene, Boldon and American Jon Drummond.
Surin was in trouble from the moment the gun fired. The rest of the field exploded like rockets but he looked like a twin-engine airplane taking off. After about 10 metres Surin gave up any illusion of racing and enjoyed a stroll in the night air.
His final time was 50.94 seconds.
"I felt it right away," said Surin, who didn't show the complete devastation his teammate Bailey had the previous evening.
"The pain was too bad. From the start there was nothing I could do. I tried everything. I went for it.
"I didn't want to have any regrets. I just went for it and unfortunately it didn't work."
Bailey, ravaged by a respiratory virus, did not make it out of the second round of qualifying Friday. If Bailey's loss was a body blow to Canada's hopes of repeating as 4x100-metre relay champions, Surin's injury was a knockout punch.
"The game for me is done," said Surin. "It would take a miracle for me to run the relay because that hurt so much."
It's been a wild ride for Surin.
He almost didn't make it out of his first-round heat and then was a 50-50 starter in the semifinal after reinjuring the hamstring he hurt last month at the Canadian trials in the second round.
Surin received injections in the leg both days before the race. He also underwent acupuncture, was worked on by a chiropractor and received a massage.
He managed a 10.20 in Friday's second round but the magic ran out Saturday.
"I felt the pain only at about 70 metres (Friday)," he said. "Today I was optimistic. Today from the start I felt it. There's no way I could have done it today. No way."
Critics suggest Surin's injury at the trials could have been avoided. Because of false starts, and the organizor's wish to have the 100 metres shown live on television, Surin had less than five minutes for a massage between the semifinals and finals.
"I was upset about the Canadian championships," Surin said. "Things happen sometimes for a reason. I don't want to point my finger at anyone. It could have happened at another race in Europe. I'm not going to blame anybody. Now I'm just going to focus on getting healthy and run next year."
Surin, who was born in Au-Cap-Haitien, Haiti, was fourth at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He had big expectations for Atlanta four years ago but failed to qualify for the final.
"At Atlanta that was my fault. I put too much pressure on myself," he said.
Surin will leave this year's Olympics beaten but with his head up and his mind already focusing on next year's world championships in Edmonton.
"I didn't perform bad here. I was injured," he said. "Injuries happen. I'm going to run next year for sure."