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IAAF chief: Bailey-Johnson race a ‘circus’

June 4, 1997

ROME (AP) _ The head of track and field’s governing body deemed the race between Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson a ``circus″ and said a rematch will not be sanctioned.

Primo Nebiolo, president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, said last Sunday’s $2 million showdown at Toronto’s Skydome went outside IAAF rules by having just two runners, instead of at least four.

``No, we will not give permission for a rematch under the same format,″ Nebiolo said in a television appearance, as quoted in Italian newspapers Wednesday.

``Some people have already talked about a rematch in Las Vegas,″ he said. ``You can forget about that under these conditions. Our federation will not give authorization and without that, you can’t do anything.

``This is not sports as entertainment, but more like something out of a circus. And we’re not interested in it.″

Bailey, the Olympic 100-meter champion, won Sunday’s 150-meter race as Johnson, the 200 and 400 champion, pulled up halfway though the run with an injured quadricep.

The ballyhooed event gave $1 million to the winner and $500,000 guaranteed to each runner.