Sprinters are the heavyweight boxers of the track. The best ones have outsized egos. Their bravado lingers for years. That appears to be the case with Donovan Bailey, still Canada’s fastest man.
On Thursday, Bailey took to Twitter with a matter-of-fact takedown of another all-time great, American Michael Johnson. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Bailey’s lambasting of Johnson in a special 150m race held in Toronto’s SkyDome, he posted this brutal barb:
20 years ago today… pic.twitter.com/ag3rp2HMM5
— Donovan Bailey (@donovanbailey) June 2, 2017
The race was setup as a one-off stunt to crown the “world’s fastest man” after Johnson started appearing in Nike ads making the claim. Johnson was the then 200m world record holder, and Bailey had just run the fastest 100m of all-time in Atlanta the year before.
Bailey scorched Johnson, and the latter runner pulled up with what he said was a hamstring injury at about the 100m mark. Bailey took him the $1.5 million prize for the victory. Johnson was paid $500,000 just for showing up.
The race wasn’t sanctioned and, apart from the cash, only the runners’ pride was at stake – something Bailey seems to have not forgotten 20 years later.
Johnson hasn’t responded the Tweet.