Saturday, August 11, 2012

Usain Bolt Takes Issue With Carl Lewis Steroids Comments He Brands An Insult

Usain Bolt

Former sprint star and gold medalist, Carl Lewis, issued controversial statements about Jamaica, criticizing the island nation's steroid screening program, due to the massive success of sprinters such as Usain Bolt. According to U.K. Sport, Lewis, who was cited three times for doping, but had each citation overturned in U.S. court, made inaccurate and incorrect statements about the nation of Jamaica by stating, "I think there are some issues. Countries like Jamaica do not have a random (drugs testing) 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. 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?"

Lewis kept making disparaging comments from the time of the Beijing Olympics, escalating it, upset that Bolt had broken his record and began implying Jamaica had somehow found a magic steroid that had not been detected, which is untrue. Furthermore, Bolt was the most tested athlete at the Beijing and London Olympics.

Yesterday, Bolt finally responded to Lewis' comments during an interview. Bolt expressed admiration for U.S. Sprinting legend, Michel Johnson, but spoke of his disdain for Lewis' statements. Bolt stated, "I'm going to say something controversial right now. Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him. The things he says about the track athletes is really downgrading for another athlete to say something like that. I think he's just looking for attention, really, because nobody really talks much about him. That was really sad for me when I heard the other day what he was saying. It was upsetting. I've lost all respect for him. All respect." 

Carl Lewis

When further questioned about his response, this prompted the fastest man alive, Bolt, to reveal the nature of Lewis' statements that had offended him, in the aforementioned interview yesterday. Bolt replied, "It was all about drugs. Talking about drugs. For me, an athlete out of the sport to be saying that. That was really upsetting for me. Really upsetting. To jump up and say something like that. As far as I'm concerned he's looking for attention. That's all."

I was disappointed that Lewis had made those statements. It would have been nice if he had just been happy for his fellow global sprinters that have done well. Bolt's rise and that of his teammates has advanced the sport, making it even more popular with a new generation. That should be one of the goals of every sport.
When you look at what newer stars such as Lebron James has done for basketball, Michael Phelps has done for swimming and Bolt has done for sprinting, among others, deceiving us all into thinking we can go out there and do the same and not fall flat on our faces (or end up with a busted lip because you falsely think you're Michael Jordan), as they've made it look so easy and fun, it's a good thing. Somewhere in that global group of admirers, future athletes are inspired to work hard and make it to the top as well. That doesn't deserve pessimism.