Usain Bolt (JAM), second from left, defeats Ryan Bailey (USA), left, and Justin Gatlin (USA), second from right, and Yohan Blake (JAM), right, to win the men's 100m final during the 2012 London Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
From staff reports, USA TODAY
LONDON - If you brought up Carl Lewis' name to Usain Bolt, he might just respond, Who?
In the informal interview area Thursday at Olympic Stadium, Bolt said of Lewis, "Everybody's forgotten about him."
Bolt's comments came moments after the Jamaican sprinting star one-upped - and then some - Lewis in the Olympic sprinting record books, adding a second 200 title Thursday to the 100 title he won Sunday night, making him the only back-to-back 100 and 200 champ in Olympic history. (Lewis won back-to-back golds in the 100, but went gold-silver at 200 in 1984-88.)
In his formal interview after the race, Bolt's comments twice veered into criticisms of Lewis, who had been quoted recently doubting whether Bolt could repeat his Beijing success. Lewis also was quoted four years ago as being suspicious about whether Bolt's world record times in Beijing had been accomplished drug-free.
In 2008, Lewis told Sports Illustrated: "I think there are some issues. No one is accusing anyone. But don't live by a different rule and expect the same kind of respect."
And this: "For someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don't question that ... you're a fool. Period."
Bolt, it seems, has not forgotten.
When asked a question about the past greats of the sport, such as Owens and Lewis. Bolt praised Jesse Owens, but of Lewis, he said, "I've lost all respect, all respect."
"I'm going to say something controversial right now. Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him," Bolt said. "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."
Bolt called himself the greatest of sprinters and, in answering a question, said that he is what Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali were to their sports.
"I'm guessing I'm in that category," he said.