'My dad came to see me become the fastest man in history' - Donovan Bailey

By April 28, 2020

In track and field, breaking a world record is special. Breaking a world record at the Olympic Games is extra special.

However, for Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic 100-metre champion, something occurred in Atlanta that topped all that.

Bailey, who grew up in Jamaica before migrating to Canada in the early 1980s, won the 100m World title in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1995. However, heading into the Olympics in Atlanta the following year, several men were contending for that coveted Olympic 100m title.

Chief among them was the 1992 Olympic champion Linford Christie, who was keen on defending his title. Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks was in peak form so too was Trinidad and Tobago’s Ato Boldon.

However, Bailey is never short on confidence and he was convinced he would add the Olympic title to the World Champion crown he had won a year earlier. "I was quite confident I was going to win," he said.

This time, though, victory would be much sweeter.

“My father (George) was there and my two-year-old daughter Adrienna. It would be the first time they would see me compete live,” he said, “so essentially there were three generations of Bailey there.”

The final of the 100m was marred by some drama. Linford Christie false-started a second time and was reluctant to leave the track but it could not delay the inevitable.

Bailey got a poor start but powered through the field to win gold and set a new world and Olympic record of 9.84s, a record that stood until 2008 when Usain Bolt stormed to a new record of 9.69 in Beijing, China.

However, at that moment in Atlanta in 1996, there was no man more proud than Donovan Bailey.

“After, I went and got my daughter and my dad. My father came to watch me become the fastest man in history. It was the first time I ever saw my father cry,” Bailey said. “Adrienna was two, she was probably wondering why everybody was crying.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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