SLAM!Sports
 


 SPORT INDEX
 

 Previous Olympics
 









COLUMNISTS

Wed, August 25, 2004

The mighty has fallen


The Canadian flag, the one Perdita Felicien was supposed to carry around the Olympic Stadium in triumph, was tucked around her boyfriend's waist.

It was some 40 minutes after her stunning tumble yesterday in the final of the 100-metre hurdles and the weight of her failure spilled out in a torrent.

Felicien lost it then, burying her face into Hubert Ling's shoulder, sobbing away the pain.

She already had talked to her mother, Cathy Moe, at home in Pickering. But the more the unthinkable digested into reality, the more support she craved.

"I needed to be consoled," Felicien said. "I felt like I've let everybody down. I've let the Olympic team down. I've let my teammates down. I've let my country down. I've let my coach down. I've let every person who was working with this for me down."

Most of all, though, she had let herself down. Crash down, actually, like the first of 10 hurdles, the one she booted with her right foot seconds into the race.

What was supposed to be a triumph for the world champion ended in unimaginable disaster as she sat on the track in disbelief while the rest of the race was run.

So focused on dominating the race, Felicien ended up panicking, in the words of her agent and former hurdling star, Renaldo Nehemiah.

"When another hurdler gets out in front of you, it's a sense of panic," Nehemiah said. "A lot of times, you try to do it all on the first hurdle. She tried to reach. That's why she hit the crossbar so flush."

Felicien was at a loss to explain the blunder, the first time she has tumbled into the opening hurdle during her career.

"I'm devastated," Felicien said, her eyes as red as the Maple Leaf tattoos on her shoulder and hip.

"I don't know what happened. My philosophy has been 'go with your speed.' You might crash and burn with it, but living on the edge that's what you do. You flirt with disaster.

"I could run that race again a hundred times and I guarantee that would not happen."

Felicien steamrolled the hurdle with such force that she veered to her right and into the lane of Irina Shevchenko, taking the Russian out of the race.

The Russians appealed to have the race rerun, but the IAAF turned down the protest last night.

That allowed the victory by American Joanna Hayes, in an Olympic-record 12.37 seconds, to stand.

Russian Olena Krasovska finished second in 12.45 while another American, Melissa Morrison, captured the bronze in 12.56.

After barrelling over the hurdle, Felicien hit the ground with such force she hurt her left leg. She returned to the Olympic village after the race and was being treated for a suspected bruised heel.

The injury will be evaluated after X-rays this morning.

As uncharacteristic as the blunder was, Felicien vowed she did not succumb to the pressure. She said she had a "phenomenal" warmup and appeared focused and calm from the moment she walked on to the track in front of 72,000 people.

"You see people compete and come here and they're supposed to be at their best and they're not," said Felicien, who threw her cleats to the track in a fit of anger after the race.

"I've always said that's not me. I won't be that person. That is not my destiny. That is not my fate.

"Little did I know ... "


Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

Results



CANOE home | We welcome your feedback.
Copyright © 2004, CANOE, a division of Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.