Bolt had right people around him, Johnson didn't: Former 100m champ Bailey

Doping is a menace that can be avoided if one keeps the company of "right people" which exactly has been the difference between Usain Bolt and Ben Johnson, feels former Olympic and World 100 metres champion Donovan Bailey.

"It's about having the right kind of people around you that makes the difference. Look at Usain, he has an incredible team working round the clock for him. I can say for myself that I had a great upbringing. My parents had everything structured for me in order to see me successful," Bailey told PTI when asked about the difference between Bolt and Johnson.

Questioned if he carried any 'emotional baggage' when he burst into the international circuit as someone who hailed from the 'Land of Ben Johnson', the 46-year-old retorts immediately, "Firstly, that's not the land of Ben Johnson only! And secondly, I have never ever carried any baggage of anyone. My career has been about the person who I am."

Bailey, who had twin gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics (he ran the anchor leg for the Canadian team in 4x100m relay), feels that Bolt's story is about the evolution of human body structure rather than redefining the norms of running 100m sprint.

Bolt had right people around him, Johnson didnt: Former 100m champ Bailey

Usain Bolt: AFP

"I won't say he has redefined 100m sprinters but he has been an example of evolution of human body and its ability to push it to limits. It's simple. He (Bolt) is a much bigger and stronger lad and he will obviously run faster than sprinters of earlier generations.

"It's just that kids nowadays are bigger and stronger. It's like five-year olds having a better grip on computer games than 40-year-olds," Bailey, who is the 'Brand Ambassador' for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, said.

Bailey expects that if Bolt stays healthy, then the Jamaican legend can indeed improve upon the current world record time of 9.58 seconds: "Talking from technical perspective, as long as Bolt stays healthy, he can definitely improve upon the timings. He has the ability to get even stronger and get faster. He has been a great ambassador for the sport," Bailey added.

Bailey was never been a great 'Showman' like Bolt but ask him about who was the toughest competitor for him, the concealed aggression comes out: "Frankly speaking, no one! I only competed against the clock as each one of us turned up and did the same thing. It's the time that I competed against," he said with a swagger.

For someone, who never had any run-ins with the doping authorities during his career as professional sprinter, Bailey feels that one doesn't need performance enhancing drugs to succeed at the top level.

"As long as you have kids who are bigger, stronger and faster, they will be able to push the bar even when you set impossible boundaries for them," Bailey stated.

"An athlete's body is like a high-end computer. Everything from training, rest and nourishment needs to be put in a proper balance and see whatever limits body can attain," Bailey said.

Bailey, who runs an athletics consultancy firm, is open to helping the Indian athletes if the federation approaches him with an offer: "I run an athletics consultancy company that helps to train athletes. Our company worked with the British athletics team during the London 2012. We can provide proper information and structured training if the Indian federation wants," he concluded.


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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2013 21:02:56 IST

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