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Carl Lewis raises doubts over Usain Bolt’s record-setting performances

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Usain Bolt’s reign as the Olympic champion and world record holder in both the 100m and 200m has lasted a mere few weeks before questions over the veracity of his achievements overtook the fleet-footed Jamaican.

Asking questions: Retired American sprinter Carl Lewis says the absence of stringent drug-testing programmes in Usain Bolt's native Jamaica raises questions about his performances

Asking questions: Retired American sprinter Carl Lewis says the absence of stringent drug-testing programmes in Usain Bolt’s native Jamaica raises questions about his performances Photo: Getty Images

And while behind-the-scenes whispers have featured in the wake of all record-setting performances on the track in recent years, few insiders would give voice to these without a positive drugs test to back up the doubts.

However, the absence of a positive test has not stopped Carl Lewis, the retired American sprinter who dominated the sport through much of the 1980s, from expressing strong doubts over Bolt’s mesmerising performances in Beijing. Speaking to US magazine Sports Illustarted, Lewis based his statements on the relative absence of stringent drug-testing programmes in Bolt’s native Jamaica.

“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, who was cleared of positive tests for stimulants ahead of the 1988 Olympics, added that sprinting’s recent past should automatically raise doubts over any extarordinary performance on the track. And Bolt’s runs in Beijing were certainly that.

“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?”

For their part, the IOC ensured that Jamaican sprinters were chosen for blood-testing in Beijing, but none returned positive tests.

Lewis also questioned the performances of Jamaica’s female sprinters who like their male compatriots also train in the absence of a random drug-teasting programme.

“I’m proud of America right now because we have the best random and most comprehensive drug testing program. 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.

“Veronica Campbell-Brown lives in the United States and has been transparent and consistent. She won the worlds last year in the 100 metres and this year can’t even make the (Jamaican) team. Are you going to tell me that shouldn’t be questioned?”

Lewis’ comments are likely to case a stir in Jamaica as well as much of the athletics world but the winner of nine Olympic gold medals is unrepentant.

“People forget that I was the first one to speak out about Ben [Johnson], and I got crucified,” Lewis said. “A year later, I was a prophet. The athletes have to say, ‘No, this isn’t right.’ They know who’s on it. They need to step up.”

Thus far, no one has leaving Lewis on his own.

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12 Comments on Carl Lewis raises doubts over Usain Bolt’s record-setting performances

  1. And when Mr.Lewis was at the height of his career drug tests were far less effective than they are now. Mr.Lewis you are a has been who maybe never was, but we Will never know so best to just forget about you.
    #mrlewiswho?

  2. Carl Lewis is a fucking hater
    In the 80s he was doing the same thing but he gave up Ben Johnson
    Because he got
    Beat at his own game .let him shut he
    Punk skunt

  3. This shit head bwoy weh him face look like him batty fi go sidung an tek a chill pill. Wen you was gulping dwn di drugs like it was candy and not getting caught, was america doings its best to test u. U the americans dominated and it wasn’t a problem. Bwoy fuck off n go fuck usself bitch

  4. Shut the hell up. I guess you’re saying that because when you dominated you were using drugs so you’re thinking the same is being done elsewhere. Pure rubbish. High time we start to respect others greatness when they surpass us. Stop being a sore loser.

  5. Yeah right! Sounds exactly like Lebron James saying that Michael Jordan’s team mates deserving more credit. It boils down to one great athlete not being able to stomach the fact that one greater than then exists. Carl Lewis was the same one who suggested that Ben Johnson had taken performance enhancing drugs when he broke the 100 meter world record. Unfortunately, it proved tinhebtrue in that instance. However it points to what I think is a deficiency in the American phyche; i.e. That they are necessarily the best. Anyone else who has excelled must have cheated. Why hasn’t he commented on Justin Gatlin failed drug tests? Carl Lewis needs to get with the program and acknowledge Bolt as the greatest! Greater than him. That will not change.

  6. I know this was coming. That is why i would like to see Bolt in 2020. 100 and 200 meters. Keep eating real food Bolt, ground food, provisions, caribbean food. Fish. Coconut water, sugarcane juice, sugarapple , mango. Ah we culture that! Born strong, eat strong, stay strong.Bolt 2020 Olympics, member me say dat.

  7. Theophilus Stephen // August 20, 2016 at 3:40 pm // Reply

    Im so disappointed in you Carl Lewis. This black on black crime has to stop. When you see a brother excelling be happy for him even if he is way much better than you were and you ever thought would be. Bolt is the greatest sprinter now. It’s his time. You had yours. Smile a while and give your face a rest.

  8. Them Jamaicans know they this take chicken pill!

  9. Them Jamaicans know they thus take chicken pill!

  10. Carl Lewis needs to shut the fuck up and stop being a hater.You had your day now its Bolt day.Step back because Bolt is king

  11. has been… you are just jealous because no ones interested in you…and instead of being proud of a black man doing good you have to make yourself sound like your country man TRUMP…what next you going to make him prove he is human..ah go sit down you silly man.

  12. COME ON CARL…BE A MAN…ITS A MODERN WORLD GUY….TAKE IT LIKE A MAN..BOLT DID WELL.

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