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SYDNEY 2000 SUMMER OLYMPICS | TRACK & FIELD

Bailey Feels Pain of Early Exit in 100

Track and field: Defending gold medalist pulls up in second round.

September 23, 2000|MIKE PENNER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SYDNEY, Australia — Maurice Greene, Jon Drummond and Ato Boldon easily advanced through their second-round 100-meter heats Friday, but when they line up for today's semifinals, 1996 Olympic champion Donovan Bailey of Canada won't be among them.

Bailey, fighting a chest infection, pulled up at around 50 meters, struggling to breathe.

"It hurts," Bailey said of failing to qualify. "The last time I was at the Olympics, I was king. No question. I wanted to go out fighting, but I couldn't do it."

Bailey stood alone in the mixed zone, shoulders slumped, shaking his head as he patiently fielded questions from reporters.

"I'm used to talking to you guys in the [medalists'] press conference after the race," he said. "This doesn't feel right to me at all."

Bailey said he was hopeful that his condition would improve in time for the 400-meter relay, scheduled for Sept. 30.

"By no means do I want to impose myself on the team if I'm feeling like this and somebody is running faster," Bailey said. "But I'm committed to the team and I'll be at every practice."

Greene, who won his heat with a time of 10.10 seconds, has verbally sparred with Bailey at other major meets, but called the former world-record holder "a tough competitor. We're going to miss him."

Greene described his own performance as "OK. I got through it safely. That's the important thing, and I won, so it's OK. It's time to get serious. Play time is over."

Boldon, who won his heat in 10.11, shares a house in the athletes village with Greene.

"Tomorrow I might not be talking to him," Boldon joked. His roommate remains the odds-on favorite for the gold medal, but Boldon is undaunted.

"I was the man before I came here, I will be the man [in the final] and will go home the man," Boldon said.

Drummond and fellow American Curtis Johnson also qualified for the semifinals, running 10.15 and 10.24, respectively. Obadele Thompson of Barbados had the fastest second-round time, 10.04.

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Wearing a bodysuit and needing only to cruise through her second-round 100-meter heat, Marion Jones instead popped a time of 10.83 seconds to lead all women qualifiers.

"I wanted to run that to set it up for tomorrow," Jones said. "Perhaps if the semis were earlier in the day, I might have held off. But I'll have enough time to rest tomorrow. So I decided, 'OK, I'll hang one out there.' "

The 10.83 was intended as a message to Greece's Ekaterini Thanou, who ran in the same heat as Jones and finished with the second-best mark of the round, 10.99.

Jamaica's Merlene Ottey and Ukraine's Zhanna Pintusevych were next, both running 11.08.

American Chryste Gaines advanced with a time of 11.21 but Torri Edwards, an injury replacement for U.S. teammate Inger Miller, failed to qualify. Needing to finish in the top 16 to reach the semifinals, Edwards was 17th with a time of 11.32.

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