Donovan Bailey

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonovan•Bailey
Used nameDonovan•Bailey
Born16 December 1967 in ?, Manchester (JAM)
Measurements183 cm / 82 kg
Affiliationsadidas, Herzogenaurach (GER)
NOC Canada
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Living in Canada during the mid-1990s it was impossible not to have heard of Donovan Bailey. A Jamaican-born athlete, Bailey moved to Canada in 1981 but did not begin sprinting competitively until a decade later. At this point he possessed an economics degree and was nurturing a budding career in finance. His first major international competition came at the 1995 World Championships, where he won gold medals in the 100m event and the 4×100 relay. A shoo-in for the 1996 Summer Olympics, he continued to impress during the lead-up by setting a world record time of 5.56 in the 50 m, one that still stands as of 2012 and has only been tied once, by Maurice Greene in 1999. At the Games he immediately became a household name after winning the 100m competition in a record-breaking time of 9.84 seconds and taking home gold in the 4×100 relay as well. His world record would stand for three years (broken by Greene in 1999), his Commonwealth record lasted until 2005 (bested by Asafa Powell), and his Olympic record stood until 2008 (eclipsed by Usain Bolt), although he remained the Canadian record holder in the event, tied with Bruny Surin. On the national scene he further cemented his fame by defeating American Michael Johnson in an unofficial 150m “World’s Fastest Man” competition in 1997.

Bailey continued to compete through 1997, winning silver in the 100 m event and gold in the 4×100 m relay at that year’s World Championships, but soon thereafter damaged his Achilles tendon during a 1998 recreational basketball match. He did participate in the 2000 Summer Olympics, but was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 100 and retired in 2001. A two-time member of the Canadian Hall of Fame, inducted as an individual in 2004 and as a member of the 1996 relay team in 2008, he was presented with the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada’s best sportsperson, in 1996. Since his retirement from active competition he has worked as a sports commentator and started a sports clinic and an amateur athlete promotion company based out of Oakville, Ontario.

Personal Bests: 100 – 9.84 (1996).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics CAN Donovan Bailey
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Canada 1 Gold
2000 Summer Olympics Athletics CAN Donovan Bailey
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 8 h3 r2/4

Special Notes