Monday, October 13, 2008

Carl Lewis Doubts Usain Bolt

In a revealing interview with, American Olympic icon Carl Lewis isn't buying what Usain Bolt's selling when he said, "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 then went on to praise the best random and most comprehensive drug testing program (the U.S.) and contrast that with Jamaica. "Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I'm not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field."

Lewis goes on to say, "No one is accusing anyone. But don't live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect. They say, "Oh, we've (the Jamaicans) 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?"

Reflecting on the 9.8 threshold that Bolt surpassed this year. "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. 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 addressed one issue I raised in an earlier post questioning when Jamaica became the sprint capitol of the world when he questioned how the women's world 100 champion cannot make the Olympic team. "I look at someone like [Jamaican track star] Veronica Campbell-Brown, who lives in the United States, and has been transparent and consistent. She won the worlds last year in the 100 meters and this year she can't even make the team? And you're going to tell me that shouldn't be questioned?"

Lewis is also not a fan of how admitted cheaters are still able to influence young athletes. "Here's what angers me: Antonio Pettigrew [a North Carolina assistant track coach who testified in federal court that he took human growth hormone and EPO between 1997-2001 while winning the 4x400 relay gold in the 2000 Olympics, a medal he returned in June] kept his job and he's coaching young athletes. This is wrong. There have to be consequences for your actions."

I agree with Lewis that Pettigrew should not be coaching young athletes, especially at a public university. He is an admitted doper and the line of athletes "learning from his mistakes" doesn't fly. Carl Lewis in this interview has done the impossible: by invoking five variations of "not saying anyone is on anything", Lewis essentially said Usain Bolt cheated without saying he cheated! If you're not saying anyone is anything, doubting Bolt's accomplishments and advocating a level playing field, then what the hell are you saying Carl?

You were on the forefront with Ben Johnson, be out on front again...but you have to say it.