- Born in Jamaica, moved to Canada at age 13
- Former world record holder in the 100 meter dash (9.84 sec.)
- Won 2 gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta (100m, 4x100m relay)
- Won 3 gold medals at the World Championships (2 in 1995, 1 in 1997)
- Defeated 200m & 400m champion Michael Johnson in a hybrid 150m race for the title of “World’s Fastest Man”
- Ruptured his achilles tendon in 1998, effectively ending his career
- Named by Track & Field News as the “Sprinter of the Decade”
- Member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (was inducted twice, once as an individual and once as a member of the gold medal-winning relay team)
Originally, Bailey had no plans of becoming a professional sprinter. In 1990, Bailey was a recent college graduate working as a stockbroker. He was watching the Canadian Track & Field Championships and saw that some of the competitors were people he had beat in high school. This motivated him to train and get back on the track. He was soon a member of the Canadian National Team and was discovered by legendary track coach Don Pfaff at the 1993 World Championships. He began training with Pfaff to work towards making the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Three World Championships and two Olympic gold medals later, Bailey was named “Sprinter of the Decade” by Track & Field News.
THE WORLD RECORD
Bailey set the world record in the 100 meter dash at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His time of 9.84 seconds beat the previous record of 9.85 seconds set by American Leroy Burrell two years earlier. It was the second world record Bailey set that year, after his 50 meter indoor record of 5.56 seconds set at a competition in Reno, Nevada. Bailey’s 100 meter record was broken in 1999 by American Maurice Greene (9.79 sec.).
Here’s a video of Bailey’s world record performance in Atlanta:
FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD
Bailey’s world record in the 100 meters along with American Michael Johnson’s world record in the 200 meters sparked a debate over who was the fastest man in the world. A race was scheduled for June 2007 in which the two would compete against each other head-to-head in a hybrid, 150 meter race, with the winner taking home $1.5 million and the title of “World’s Fastest Man”. 100 meters into the race, with Bailey in the lead, Johnson pulled up with a quadriceps injury and dropped out of the race. Many people were skeptical of the injury, saying that Johnson pulled out because he was losing. Here is the race:
WHERE IS HE NOW?
Bailey is a successful businessman with his own corporation, Bailey, Inc. For more information on Bailey, Inc., hit up www.donovanbailey.com and click on “The Business”. He also founded the Donovan Bailey Fund, which provides assistance to top Canadian amateur athletes.
The Donovan Bailey Project:
4×100 meter relay at 1997 World Championships:
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