LONDON (AFP) – Sprint king Usain Bolt said he had lost all respect for Carl Lewis after the US sprint legend restated his concerns over the toughness of Jamaica’s drug-testing policy.
Speaking after winning the 200m at the London Olympics to seal a second consecutive sprint double, Bolt said he held sprint icon Jesse Owens in high regard but said Lewis was merely attention-seeking.
“For me Jesse Owens I have a lot of respect for. He’s a great athlete. He has done great things for his country. He has really pushed athletes to their best,” said the 25-year-old.
“I’m going to say something controversial right now. Carl Lewis, I’ve no respect for him. The things he says about the track athletes is really downgrading for another athlete to be saying something like that about other athletes.
“I think he’s just looking for attention really because nobody really talks about him so he’s just looking at attention,” said Bolt, who emphasised that Jamaica’s incredible sprint success was all down to hard work.
“So for me for that was really sad for me when I heard the other day what he was saying so for me it was upsetting. So for me I’ve lost all respect for him, all respect.”
Bolt — the 100m and 200m champion at the Beijing Games in 2008 — has five gold medals compared to Lewis’s nine won between 1984 and 1996.
Lewis has consistently questioned the performances of Jamaica’s sprinters, refusing to join in the universal applause for Bolt after he raced to his first Olympic double at the Beijing Games in 2008.
“No one is accusing anyone,” Lewis said in an interview shortly after the Beijing Games. “But don’t live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect … 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 (doping critics) 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.”