The Macro Man stated his case with his feet. Then his words added a rather loud exclamation point.
In a hotly contested 100-metre final at the Canadian track and field championships yesterday, Nicolas Macrozonaris surprised the field to win his third national title in the sport’s glamour event.
Afterward, Macrozonaris, who’s rarely at a loss for words, turned up the heat in a five-minute rant against Athletics Canada, which cut his carding support last November. He called yesterday’s win sweet vindication.
“I’ve been struggling as you all know, but I was able to bounce back despite all the things thrown my way,” said Macrozonaris, 25, of Laval, Que.
“You know what, I’m Canadian champion today. I’m very satisfied, I mean it from the bottom of my heart, deep into my soul. This (win) is something I’m very proud of, probably the highlight of my career … I made it here with no support and that’s something special to me.”
2005 A WASHOUT
Last year was a complete washout for Macrozonaris, who struggled with injuries – he couldn’t say exactly what yesterday – but kept trying to run before applying for medical carding at season’s end. Athletics Canada, which had the runner on its team at last year world championships in Helsinki, denied his request because it said he didn’t follow the proper procedure – a decision the runner is still appealing.
“I was inactive all of 2005, and at the end of the day, I get a slap in the face,” an emotional Macrozonaris said. "I’m a positive person, but then when you have no support, it’s sad.
“It bothers me, man. I’m not a Joe Schmoe who’s out here suddenly screaming at everybody and making an ass out of myself. It’s not good.”
Macrozonaris relocated to Ottawa last October to train with national team sprint coach Glenroy Gilbert but said, without carding funds, he couldn’t afford to stay. He moved back to Montreal two months later.
“I lost everything,” said Macrozonaris, who did get some funding from his home province. "Every time I went to see a massage therapist, it cost me $40. And I need it every day.
“Now I’m going to Europe (for some cash meets), trying to cover my debts. That’s how bad it is. I’m not looking for pity. I don’t care about pity.”
He still hopes to regain his status among sprinting’s elite.
“I was once ranked 10th in the world,” said Macrozonaris, whose best career time is a 10.03 he ran in 2003 in Mexico City, when he beat former world record holder Tim Montgomery. “I want to get back to that level.”
NOW, THAT’S A LIMO: 1996 Olympic relay gold medallists Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin, Glenroy Gilbert, Robert Esmie and Carleton Chambers took a ceremonial lap around the Terry Fox track yesterday, but not in the conventional way. They were whisked around in a limousine-sized Ford Excursion. While the vehicle made its way around, viewers were treated to the audio of Don Wittman’s call of the race on CBC. The runners received a huge ovation when they emerged from the limo and were introduced to the crowd.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH?: Like a lot of folks, Nathan Brannen has been chasing Canada’s 1,500-metre legend for years. So when the Cambridge native finally claimed the national title yesterday with a 3:41.06 clocking, he admitted afterward the victory felt a little hollow without Kevin Sullivan in the race. “Doesn’t feel the same winning without him,” Brannen, 23, said of Sullivan, the eight-time Canadian champ in the race, who chose to run the 800 metres for some speed work this weekend. Brannen knows Sullivan isn’t gone for good in the 1,500. “He’s still around and I think he’s still got a couple more years to go,” he said. Carmen Douma-Hussar, also of Cambridge, retained her crown in the women’s 1,500.
A BIGGER SHOW: Next year’s nationals in Windsor will be the first that’s full-integrated, with the country’s best Paralympic athletes sharing the big stage. It’s a situation that brings a wide smile to the face of Chantal Petitclerc, Canada’s top women’s wheelchair racer. “Finally, it’s happening,” said Petitclerc, who defended her women’s 800 metres title yesterday. “It’ll give more exposure to our sport. It’s just going to be very positive.”
Previous story: Floyd flunks out
Next story: Allen reclaims hurdling crown