The legendary Canadian athlete Donovan Bailey reveals the challenges he overcame throughout his career and how it led him to becoming the “world’s fastest man.”
The Olympic sprinting legend joined Brandon Gonez for an exclusive interview talking about his latest book: “Undisputed: A Champion’s Life.” He addressed how the media treated him in the 90’s, his former title of “world’s fastest man” and the challenges and victories he’s experienced throughout his life.
First, Bailey reflected on what it meant being the fastest man in Canada and worldwide.
“In order for you to be successful at anything you have to have a healthy ego, we can call it confidence or whatever. So, I think when I was competing I expected to be the greatest in the world and that’s who I became,” he said.
“Now the fact that someone like Usain (Bolt) came along and shattered my Olympic record and the world record is incredible,” he added.
He also said he’s someone who’s cheering for the next generation to come in and do incredible things.
Brandon then asked the Olympic champion why he decided to write this memoir and why now.
“The number one thing is that people keep asking me about it. I’ve always been snippets or subjects of parts of books or parts of movies, there’s some things that I didn’t like about the narrative,” he said.
He also said he’s fortunate to get a book deal and thought that this was the time to go for it.
Brandon also addressed a section from his book where Bailey recounted how the media treated him in the 90’s.
“I think that in the 90’s when I was competing and I addressed certain things like racism and all that stuff I was looked at as somewhat I guess difficult or outspoken I guess we’ll say,” he said.
“Something that didn’t come over too well because unfortunately they control the narrative, they’re going to say, ‘Oh he’s a difficult guy to work with,’ how am I a difficult guy to work with?,” he added.
However, Bailey feels that times have evolved and people can have open conversations while being listened to and respected.
Brandon also asked Bailey about the 1997 “World’s fastest man race” between him and American Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson at the Rogers Centre (formerly known as SkyDome.)
Bailey reflected on his victory, beating Johnson and walking away with the $1 million prize.
“I felt whole when you put the boots to Michael at the SkyDome because it was the first time I actually felt proud,” he said.
“People were always talking about my swagger at the Olympics, but yeah you own it then and that’s the time when people would say to me, ‘I mean you called the guy a chicken,’” he added.
Donovan referenced the chicken jab about Johnson during the 150m race event that was televised when he said, “He didn’t pull up at all. He’s just a chicken. He’s afraid to lose.”
Looking back on his career, the Jamaican-Canadian athlete also revealed what he would tell his younger self.
He said back in the day his mindset was always being on a mission and if someone got in the way he would move them out of the way and admitted that perhaps people took that personally.
“I would tell my younger self to be a little bit more patient,” he added.
You can watch the full interview here on The Brandon Gonez Show.