The International Association of Athletics Federation has revealed the top contenders for their World Athlete of the Year Awards, and the the world’s fastest man, Olympic Champion Usain Bolt, is certainly a favourite to win.
But before there was Bolt, Donovan Bailey was the man to beat. The Canadian sprinter became a double Olympic Champion at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, winning the 100 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay.
Euronews’ Denys Kulyk caught up with Bailey in Monaco for the Sportel Conference. Bailey breaks down some of Bolt’s secrets to sprinting success.
While preparing for this interview I found this information : Donovan Bailey began competing as a 100 m sprinter part-time in 1991, but he did not take up the sport seriously until 1994. At that time, he was also a stockbroker”. Is it true?
Yes. Simple. Yes, yes, after school I was in the financial field. I was in business, and I thought that track and field was what I did in school, certainly, when I was young. But I thought it was a part-time thing. I didnt really take it seriously.
So, it means that only in two years after taking it seriously you became a double Olympic Champion and broke a world record in 100 metres! In your opinion, does it prove, that it doesn’t matter how hard you work – to become the best in something you need to have natural gift?
donovanbailey</a> already knows the best <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sports?src=hash">#sports</a> video of the year laureates. <br>Don't miss the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SPAW16?src=hash">#SPAW16</a> Ceremony tomorrow 😎 <a href="https://t.co/27cCFMaqDI">pic.twitter.com/27cCFMaqDI</a></p>— SPORTEL AWARDS (sportel_awards) October 24, 2016
In any sport the first thing you have to do is to thank your parents for good genes, for good genetics. So, I was blessed with that. Yes, certainly. And the fact is that also I played basketball. I was an avid athlete, so I wasn’t watching TV and doing nothing all the years before I started, but training. I always worked hard.
Talking about natural gift. Your Olympic record from Atlanta was broken by Usain Bolt. In your opinion, what is his secret? How is it possible to be as quick as he is and beat opponents with a smile on the face and posing for TV cameras?
He was blessed with a great physical gifts. And of course he is taller than all the athletes and sprinters before him. And I think that its also one of the things that people need to understand – when you laugh and relax you actually go faster.
Euronews: As you see it, who is going to replace Bolt on the throne after he retires?
Well, there… there’s an opening right now, an empty space. Well, there will be an empty space when he retires. But I certainly like the Canadian Andre De Grasse. Clearly, because, he is someone I want to be successfull, and he is from my country.
Andre De Grasse keeps promise to mom as he finishes his degree https://t.co/uhkOROKmeG via
torontostar</a></p>— Donovan Bailey (donovanbailey) October 22, 2016
Euronews:He is your favourite?
He is my favourite by elimination. Obviously I’m quite confident, because he is confident in his ability. But at the end of the day, there is a sprinter born in Jamaica every hour!
Is it possible to better the current world records in 100 and 200 m significantly?
I think yes, you can better it if your name is Usain Bolt. But I think it’s gonna be, I just believe we’re gonna see those records stand for a long time just because Usain was such a special sprinter.