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Canadian History for Kids: Donavon Bailey

July 27, 1996 – Donovan Bailey wins Olympic gold for Canada at the Atlanta Olympics, running the 100 m sprint in 9.84, setting a new world record.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive looks at Donovan Bailey.

Donovan Bailey’s heroics were the highlight of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. On July 27th, 1996, Bailey struck gold winning the men’s 100m run. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the accomplishments of sprinter Donavon Bailey.

This Canadian History for Kids articles begins when Donovan Bailey was born in Manchester, Jamaica in 1967. Bailey emigrated to Canada at age 13, and played basketball before his graduation at Queen Elizabeth Park High School in Oakville, Ontario. He began competing as a 100m sprinter part-time in 1991, but he did not take up the sport seriously until 1994. At that time, he was also a stockbroker.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues at the 1995 world Track & Field Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden when Bailey won both the 100m sprint and the 4 x 100 m relay titles.

As a forerunner to the centennial Olympics being held in Atlanta, Bailey broke the indoor 50 m world record during a competition in Reno, Nevada in 1996. He was timed at 5.56A seconds. Maurice Greene matched that performance in 1999, but his run was never ratified as a world record. Bailey repeated the “double” at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, setting a world record of 9.84s +0.7 m/s wind in the 100 m (the previous record was set in July 1994 by American Leroy Burrell at 9.85 seconds).

Many Canadians felt his victory restored the image of Canadian athletes, which had been tarnished by Ben Johnson’s previous disqualified win at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Bailey was the second person to hold all the major titles in the 100 m at once (World Champion, Olympic Champion & World Record Holder); Carl Lewis was the first to achieve this feat.

He won the 100 m race in world record time (9.84) against the strongest field ever assembled at the Atlanta Olympic games. Donovan Bailey also anchored the 4 x 100 m relay team which defeated the Americans for the gold medal.

His Olympic record was broken by Usain Bolt at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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