Donovan Bailey

Last updated
Donovan Bailey
Donovan Bailey
Personal information
Birth nameDonovan Anthony Bailey
Born (1967-12-16) December 16, 1967 (age 53)
Manchester Parish, Jamaica
Height185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight91 kg (201 lb)
Sport Running
Event(s) 50 metres, 60 metres, 100 metres, 150 metres, 200 metres

Donovan Anthony Bailey, [1] (born December 16, 1967) is a retired Jamaican-Canadian sprinter. He once held the world record for the 100 metres. He recorded a time of 9.84 seconds to win the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. He was the first Canadian to legally break the 10-second barrier in the 100 m. Particularly noted for his top speed, Bailey ran 12.10 m/s (43.6 km/h; 27.1 mph) in his 1996 Olympic title run, the fastest ever recorded by a human at the time. [2] He was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 as an individual athlete and in 2008 as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics 4x100 relay team. [3] In 2005, he was also inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. [4]


Early life

Donovan Anthony Bailey was born in Manchester Parish, Jamaica on December 16, 1967 as the fourth of five sons to George and Daisy Bailey. [1] Before going to Mount Olivet Primary School, he would take care of his family's chickens, goats, and pigs. [1] Donovan was fast when he was a young boy, with his former teacher Claris Lambert recounting that "He showed his athletic skills from grade one. He always came first in races." [1]

Bailey immigrated to Canada at age 12 [1] and played basketball with John Degenhardt. He attended Queen Elizabeth Park High School in Oakville, Ontario. During high school, his brother, O'Neil, won 4 Ontario Provincial titles in the long jump. Bailey was exceptionally fast as well, clocking 10.65 seconds in the 100m at the age of 16. However, his main interest was in basketball. After graduating in June 1984, Bailey attended Sheridan College, for which he played basketball during the 1986-1987 school year. He graduated from Sheridan with a degree in Business Administration. Bailey then began working as a property and marketing consultant for an importing and exporting clothing company. [5]


Early career

It was only in 1990 that Bailey decided to begin racing professionally; after watching the 1990 Canadian Track and Field Championships, he realized that most of the men competing were men he had beaten in high school. He began training as a 100m sprinter part-time, whilst working as a stockbroker. In 1991, he won the 60 metres at the Ontario Indoor Championships, and at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba, Bailey anchored Canada's 4 × 100 metres relay team, to a silver medal. In 1992, Bailey finished second in the 100m at the national championships. [5]

From 1993-1994, he competed for Fenerbahçe Athletics. [6] During this time, he claimed a bronze in the 100m and a silver in the 200m at the 1993 national championships, a silver in the 100m and gold in the 4 × 100 metres at the 1994 Francophone Games in Paris, and a gold medal in the 4×100m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia. [5] However, despite his impressive performances at a national level, he was only chosen as an alternate for the 4x100m at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart. American coach Dan Pfaff, who coached Bailey's high school friend Glenroy Gilbert at Louisiana State University and listened to Bailey's complaints, was impressed by Bailey's performances considering his terrible form and fitness. Pfaff invited Bailey to train with him and Gilbert at LSU, and with just 3 months of training together, Bailey shaved 3 tenths of a second off of his 100m personal best; his time of 10.03 seconds was the third fastest in Canadian history. [7]

1995: Breakthrough

On April 22, 1995, Bailey made history by breaking the 10-second barrier for the first time in the 100m, becoming the 18th man and 2nd Canadian to legally do so. His time of 9.99 seconds was just 2 hundredths shy of Ben Johnson's record of 9.95. [5] In July, he broke Johnson's record with 9.91 at the national championships, the fastest time of the year, effectively asserting his name as a favorite for the gold medal at the World Championships in Gothenburg later that year. Bailey went on to win the title in 9.97 seconds, then followed it up by anchoring Canada to their first world championship gold in the 4x100m.

1996: Olympic History

With a world title now under his belt, Bailey was highly considered to be a favorite for the Olympic title in Atlanta that July. As a precursor to the centennial Olympics, Bailey broke the indoor 50 m world record during a competition in Reno, Nevada in 1996. He was timed at 5.56 seconds. Maurice Greene later matched that performance in 1999, but his run was never ratified as a world record.

Bailey was officially selected to represent Canada at the 1996 Summer Olympics after winning his 3rd consecutive national title in the 100m. On July 27, after a very disrupted start to the race, Bailey won the Olympic 100m title setting a new world record of 9.84 seconds. During the race, he hit a top speed of 12.10 m/s (43.6 km/h or 27.1 mph), which was the fastest top speed ever recorded by a human being at the time. Many Canadians felt Bailey's victory restored the image of Canadian athletes, which had been tarnished by Ben Johnson's appalling history of doping. At the time, Bailey was only the second person after Carl Lewis to hold all the major titles in the 100m concurrently (World Champion, Olympic Champion & World Record Holder). 6 days later, he completed the 100m/4x100m double once again, anchoring Canada to their first ever Olympic 4x100m title in a national record of 37.69 seconds.

World's Fastest Man

In May 1997 he raced against Michael Johnson in a 150 m race at Toronto's Rogers Centre in a bid to truly determine who the world's fastest man was. Earlier in the spring of 1997, Johnson began performing television promotions in which he billed himself as "the world's fastest man" as a result of his 200 meters world record, despite the fact that the 100 m world record holders are traditionally given that unofficial title. Though Bailey ran in the competition, he initially refused to take part, stating that "the world's fastest man was decided in Atlanta."

Bailey won with a time of 14.99 seconds and received $1.5 million.

1997 World Championships

At the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Bailey attempted to defend his 100m title, but was beaten by Maurice Greene and was forced to settle for the silver medal in 9.91 seconds. However, along with his Canadian teammates, he was able to defend Canada's 4x100m title in 37.86 seconds, the fastest time of the year. One of his last meets of the season was at the ISTAF Berlin; after finishing 2nd in the 100m, Bailey ran the first leg of the "Dream Team II" in the 4x100m relay: Carl Lewis' last race of his career. With Leroy Burrell on the 2nd leg, Frankie Fredericks on the 3rd, and Lewis on the anchor, the team won in 38.24 seconds, a meeting record.

1998 Goodwill Games

Bailey and the 4 x 100 metre Canadian relay team won a silver medal with a time of 38.23 at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, finishing behind the United States. Bailey ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball during the post season of 1998, which effectively began the ending of his career.

1999 Pan American Games and World Championships

Bailey won a silver medal with the Canadian 4 x 100 metre relay team with a time of 38.49 at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, finishing behind Brazil. The silver medal matched his first international medal he won eight years earlier at the 1991 Pan American Games in the 4 x 100 metre relay and it would be his final international medal. Bailey was part of the Canadian 4 x 100 metre relay team at the 1999 World Championships in Seville but the team was disqualified in the first round of heats.

2000 Summer Olympics and 2001 World Championships

He made a second attempt in the 2000 Summer Olympics for Olympic glory, but suffered from pneumonia and dropped out during the rounds. He retired from the sport in 2001 after the World Championships in Edmonton, having been a three-time World and 2 time Olympic champion. [8]


After racing, Bailey started his own company called DBX Sport Management which helps amateur athletes find a way to promote themselves. He also started a sport injury clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

He has been inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame twice: in 2004 as an individual, and in 2008 as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics 4 × 100 relay team. [9]

In August 2008 Bailey began work as a track commentator for CBC Television at the 2008 Summer Olympics. [10] He estimated that had Usain Bolt not slowed down near the end of the 100m dash (which he still won in record time), he could have set a time of 9.55 seconds. [11] He returned as the track analyst for CBC's coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics. [12]

In 2010, Bailey was one of the recipients of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards presented by Canadian Immigrant Magazine. [13]

In 2016, he was made a member of the Order of Ontario. [14] In 2017, Canada's Walk of Fame honoured him with a star. [15] [16] [17]

In 2018, it was reported that Bailey had provided his entire athlete's trust of $3.75 million to Aird & Berlis lawyer Stuart Bollefer, who invested it in what was determined to be a tax evasion scheme by the Canadian government. Bailey lost the full amount due to the scheme, however the courts ordered Aird & Berlis to pay all outstanding taxes due to their negligence. [18]

Personal Bests

EventTime (seconds)VenueDate
50 metres 5.56 Sport records icon WR.svg Reno, Nevada, United StatesFebruary 9, 1996
60 metres 6.51 Maebashi, Gunma, JapanFebruary 8, 1997
100 metres 9.84 Sport records icon WR.svg (1996–1999)
Sport records icon OR.svg (1996–2008)
Atlanta, United StatesJuly 27, 1996
150 meters 14.99 Toronto, CanadaJune 1, 1997
200 metres 20.42Luzern (SUI)July 2, 1998

See also

Related Research Articles

Maurice Greene (sprinter) American sprinter

Maurice Greene is an American former track and field sprinter who specialized in the 100 meters and 200 meters. He is a former 100 m world record holder with a time of 9.79 seconds. During the height of his career (1997–2004) he won four Olympic medals and was a five-time World Champion. This included three golds at the 1999 World Championships, a feat which had previously only been achieved by Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson and has since been equaled by three others.

Armin Hary German sprinter

Armin Hary is a retired German sprinter who won the 1960 Olympic 100 meters dash. He was the first non-American to win the event since Percy Williams of Canada took the gold medal in 1928, the first man to run 100 meters in 10.0 seconds and the last white man to establish world record in 100 meters dash.

Ben Johnson (Canadian sprinter) Canadian sprinter

Benjamin Sinclair Johnson, is a Jamaican-born Canadian former sprinter, who won two bronze medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics. During the 1987–88 season he held the title of the world's fastest man, breaking both the 100m and the 60m indoor World Records. He was stripped of his gold medals in the 100 metres at the 1987 World Championships and 1988 Summer Olympics after being disqualified for doping.

Michael Johnson (sprinter) American sprinter

Michael Duane Johnson is an American retired sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships gold medals in the span of his career. He formerly held the world and Olympic records in the 200 m and 400 m, as well as the world record in the indoor 400 m. He also once held the world's best time in the 300 m. Johnson is generally considered one of the greatest and most consistent sprinters in the history of track and field.

Leroy Burrell American track and field athlete

Leroy Russel Burrell is an American former track and field athlete, who twice set the world record for the 100 m sprint.

Perdita Felicien Canadian hurdler

Perdita Felicien is a Canadian retired hurdler. Felicien is the 2003 World champion in the 100 metres hurdles and 2004 World indoor champion in the 60 metres hurdles. She also won silver medals at the 2007 World Championships, the 2010 World Indoor Championships, and twice at the Pan American Games. Her best time for the 100 metres hurdles of 12.46 secs from 2004 still stands as the Canadian record.

Brent Hayden

Brent Matthew Hayden is a Canadian competitive swimmer. Representing Canada for a decade, Hayden is regarded as the fastest swimmer in Canadian history. Hayden won a bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with a time of 47.80. He was world champion in the same event in 2007 with Filippo Magnini of Italy. By winning the 100-metre, Hayden became the first Canadian in 21 years to win a gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships, he was also the first Canadian to appear in the 100-metre final at the Olympics since Dick Pound at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in the 100-metre. Hayden adds a further three silver and one bronze medal to his World Championship totals. In addition, Hayden is currently the Canadian record-holder in the 200-metre, 100-metre and 50-metre freestyle in both the short-course and long-course. He has also held the world record in the 4×100-metre medley relay, and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay. In October 2019 it was announced that Hayden was coming out of retirement, with the goal of qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Robert Esmie Canadian sprinter

Robert Esmie is a Canadian retired sprinter and member of the 1996 Summer Olympics Gold medal 4 × 100 m relay. He runs his sport training program need for speed.

Bruny Surin is a Canadian track and field athlete, winner of a gold medal in the 4×100 metres relay at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 2008 he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics 4x100 relay team. In the 100 metres, he has broken the 10-second barrier multiple times and holds a personal record of 9.84 seconds.

Glenroy John Gilbert is a Canadian former track and field athlete, winner of the gold medal in 4×100 metres relay at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and head coach of Athletics Canada.

Anson Henry is a retired Canadian sprinter of Jamaican descent who specialized in the 100 metres. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His personal best time is 10.12 seconds, achieved in May 2006 in Doha. He also has 20.52 seconds in the 200 metres and 6.59 seconds in the 60 metres.

The Bailey–Johnson 150-metre race was a track and field event that occurred in Toronto, Ontario on Sunday, 1 June 1997.

Jared Connaughton Canadian sprinter

Jared Connaughton is a Canadian former track athlete who specialized in the 100m and 200m. He is now a physical education cross country, and track and field coach at a private school in Fort Worth, Texas.

Yohan Blake Jamaican sprinter

Yohan Blake, is a Jamaican sprinter specializing in the 100-metre and 200-metre sprint races. He won gold at the 100 m at the 2011 World Championships as the youngest 100 m world champion ever, and a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 100 m and 200 m races for the Jamaican team.

These are the official results of the men's 100 metres event at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. There were a total number of 106 participating athletes from 75 nations, with twelve heats in round 1, five quarterfinals, two semifinals and a final. Each nation was limited to 3 athletes per rules in force since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Donovan Bailey of Canada, the nation's first title in the event since Percy Williams won it in 1928.

Carlton Chambers is a retired sprint athlete from Canada, and a winner of gold medal in 4 × 100 m relay at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He ran in the preliminary heats, however a groin injury prevented him from running in the final race which was won by Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin, and Donovan Bailey. He had a personal best of 10.19 in the 100 metres.

Donovan Powell is a former sprinter who specialised in the 60 metres and 100 metres events. He is the brother of Asafa Powell, a former 100 m world record holder.

Aaron Brown (sprinter) Canadian sprinter

Aaron Brown is a Canadian sprinter who specializes in the 100 and 200 metres. He won an Olympic bronze medal as part of Canada's 4 × 100 m relay team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Brown has also won two medals as part of Canada's relay teams in the 4 × 100 m at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics.

Trayvon Bromell American sprinter

Trayvon Jaquez Bromell is an American professional track and field athlete specializing in sprinting events. He was the first junior to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters with a time of 9.97 seconds, the current junior world record. Bromell's personal best time in the 100m of 9.77 seconds makes him the 7th fastest man of all time. He is the 2016 world indoor 60 m champion and competed for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Andre De Grasse Canadian sprinter

Andre De Grasse is a Canadian sprinter. He won the silver medal in the 200 m and bronze medals in both the 100 m and 4×100 m relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. De Grasse was the Pan American champion and the NCAA champion in the 100 m and 200 m. De Grasse won the bronze in the 100 m and the 4 × 100 m relay at the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing. He also won the bronze in the 100 m and the silver in the 200 m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. He is the current Canadian record holder in the 200m.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Freeborn, Jeremy (2008-08-06). "Donovan Bailey". The Canadian Encyclopedia . Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  2. Rowbottom, Mike (3 June 2008). "As the 100m world record falls again, how much faster can humans run?". The Independent.
  3. "Yzerman, Lewis among Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductees". The Sports Network. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  4. "Donovan Bailey". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame . Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 or empty |title= (help)
  7. or empty |title= (help)
  8. "Donovan Bailey to retire after 2001 season". CBC News. May 31, 2001.
  9. "Yzerman, Lewis among Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductees". The Sports Network. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  10. CBC Television, Olympic Morning, 16 August 2008
  11. New York Times, Sprinters Marvel at Bolt and Are Sure That His Best Is Yet to Come, CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, August 19, 2008 (accessed 19 August 2008)
  13. "Canada's Top 25 Immigrants 2010". Canadian Immigrant. Retrieved 2021-06-18.
  14. "The 2016 Appointees to the Order of Ontario". Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. December 14, 2016.
  15. or empty |title= (help)
  16. or empty |title= (help)
  17. or empty |title= (help)

pp go come