ALSO ON SLAM!
Monday, August 30, 1999
Case of malpractice
Trevino Betty had only taken baton once before disastrous race
Along with Glenroy Gilbert, Betty watched the 4x100-metre final, the one Canada won the gold medal at the past two IAAF world championships and the Atlanta Olympics.
Betty missed the exchange with Gilbert and then ran out of the lane in attempting to grab the baton, the result of which was Canada being disqualified in the semifinal Saturday night.
Yesterday, Betty revealed the terrible truth.
"I had one practice of that exchange," he said.
That was the day before.
"It was lack of practice," he said.
Betty had most of his practice running the lead leg.
"The decision was made late. We needed somebody to fill in for the third leg."
He was elected.
"I lost him for a split second," said Gilbert.
He also said he lost his mark, which was a different colour (orange) here than at his other previous meets.
"I panicked. I took off.
"It wasn't that I was nervous, it was a lack of being prepared," he said.
"The decisions were all made the night before. First was the decision that I run. That was based on Brad McCuaig not being healthy.
"Then there was the decision for Bruny to run anchor, move Donovan (Bailey) to lead and me to third. I was caught in a situation.
"The decisions were made late and we weren't able to prepare ourselves.
"Rehearsal makes it better. On a stage like this, rehearsal is everything."
Gilbert said everybody but one guy wanted to stick with the Olympic and World Championship batting order.
"We sat. We talked. I expressed my opinion. My opinion was that Trevino should run leadoff, then me, then Bruny, then Donovan.
"That was the coach's opinion. That was Donovan's opinion. The result was that we came out and ran with a lot of doubts.
"Most of us knew this wasn't a formula for success.
'LOST SIGHT OF THAT'
"Bruny running third was where we always destroyed the other teams."
Gilbert said the sad thing is that they were always a team.
"That's what we had. We lost sight of that here," he said.
"I hope it's something we can get back for the Olympics in Sydney and for Edmonton in 2001."
Meanwhile, Surin issued a statement yesterday, aiming most of his verbal arrows at Bailey.
Surin was upset by comments Bailey made following the disqualification.
"I always respected Donovan, but I lost a lot of that respect Saturday," Surin said.
Bailey said that changing the traditional order was ultimately Surin's decision.
On numerous occasions during the week, Bailey said that he preferred the team's traditional order: a leadoff runner (Betty or another young sprinter) to Glenroy Gilbert to Surin to Bailey.
But when Betty was put in the third leg and failed to accept the baton cleanly from Gilbert on Saturday, Bailey gave it the old "I told you so."
That infuriated Surin.
"I feel that's a betrayal," Surin told The Sun. "I wouldn't do that to a friend. I wouldn't even think of doing that.
"When we have the good moments, we share them as a team.
"When there are bad moments, we should share them. I thought we were a team.
"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on. I had heard Donovan say that this was (my decision). What's that supposed to mean?
"I'm very upset. I was having the best year in track and field in my life, my best season, everything was going great. But this week, I have to tell you, was the longest week of my life."
Surin, 32, denied he simply demanded the anchor spot after posting his 9.84.
"I'm not the type of guy like that," the Montreal sprinter said. "I say my point of view and I listen. We had two meetings to discuss it.
"Any other times, the fastest guy would say, 'Yes I'm anchoring' and there wouldn't be a meeting." v