Olympic snub has Bailey fuming

Former gold medal winner one of several overlooked

By

VANCOUVER - Olympic champion Donovan Bailey is the latest - and maybe greatest - Canadian athlete to feel snubbed by the Vancouver Organizing Committee and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

And he’s not the least bit happy about it.

Bailey, the double gold medal winner from the 1996 Olympics, was not asked to participate in the torch relay, not asked to participate in the Opening Ceremony and not invited to the Games by any official group.

“People keep asking me ‘What’s your role?’ and I don’t know what to answer,” said Bailey. “I haven’t gotten a phone call from anybody. My office wasn’t gotten a call. My lawyers haven’t gotten a call. Nobody. I figured I’d get call asking ‘Would you like to participate and how would you like to participate?’

“Am I mad? I wouldn’t say mad, but I don’t understand. They must have their reasons, but what would there reasons be? I’m blackballed for a reason but I can’t understand why. I have no idea how this happens. It’s nameless, faceless people who make the decision. I cannot point the finger and I won’t.

“Honest, I expected to get a call. Why wouldn’t I expect? When they say Olympics in Canada, I don’t care if it’s summer, winter, spring, fall, I expect to get a call. I’ve represented Canada all over the world.

“I guess I can’t represent Canada in Canada.”

Bailey isn’t simply put off by the Olympic snub he received. He is even more upset about the snubbing of Kerrin Lee-Gartner, the downhill gold medal winner in 1992, who was someone left off the Olympic list.

“That’s preposterous,” said Bailey, when asked about Lee-Gartner. “This is a slap in the face to her. How do you leave her off, one of the greatest Olympians. I won the (big) event of the Summer Olympics. She won the big one for Winter. You know how big that is?”

What bothers Bailey most about his own situation is how often he is asked to make appearances around the world and how this event will pass without any kind of participation.

“Last year someone ran a poll about who should light the flame,” said Bailey. “My name was one of the names on the list. At least the public recognized that.” Bailey did say he will watch Friday night’s Opening Ceremony. “I love the Olympics,” he said. “I just love some of the people involved.”


MORE FROM STEVE SIMMONS

POLL