Usain Bolt isn’t just celebrating and boasting after becoming the first man to win the 200-meter race in two Olympics. He’s also lashing out.
The Jamaican sprinter ripped former American track and field star Carl Lewis, who won 10 Olympic medals including nine golds spread over four Olympiads. Lewis has expressed several doubts about Bolt and the other Jamaican runners over the past few years, and Bolt felt the need to address matters.
“I’m going to say something controversial. Carl Lewis – I have no respect for him,” Bolt said in his post-race press conference, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson. “The things he says about the track athletes are very downgrading. I think he’s just looking for attention because nobody really talks about him. I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”
Bolt explained why he has a negative opinion of Lewis.
“All the drug stuff,”Bolt said. “For an athlete to be out of the sport and to be saying that is really upsetting.”
The “drug stuff” refers to comments Lewis made to Sports Illustrated in 2008. Here’s what he said (via the Telegraph):
“No one is accusing anyone. But don’t live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect. They (Jamaican track officials) say, ‘Oh, we’ve been great for the sport.’ No, you have not. No country has had that kind of dominance. I’m not saying they’ve done anything for certain. I don’t know. But how dare anybody feel that there shouldn’t be scrutiny, especially in our sport?
“The reality is that if I were running now, and had the performances I had in my past, I would expect them to say something. I wouldn’t even be offended at the question. So when people ask me about Bolt, I say he could be the greatest athlete of all-time. But for someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you’re a fool. Period.”
Lewis pointed out how much cheating had become a part of track and field.
“Let’s be real. Let me go through the list: Ben Johnson, Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery, Tyson Gay and the two Jamaicans. Six people have run under 9.80 legally, three have tested positive, and one had a year out,” Lewis said.
“Not to say [Bolt] is doing anything, but he’s not going to have me saying he’s great and then two years later he gets popped. If I don’t trust it, what does the public think?”
Lewis also said that Jamaicans don’t have random drug tests for its track athletes, which could make it easier for them to cheat.
The former gold medalist’s criticism of Bolt didn’t end there. Last month, he expressed doubts about Bolt’s ability to win gold in both the 100 and 200-meter races for a second time. Bolt proved him wrong, and now he’s trying to get the last word. We’ll see if Lewis responds.
Note: This post also appeared on Yardbarker’s Olympics blog Medal Detector
Photo credits: Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports; Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE