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Usain Bolt has 'no respect' for Carl Lewis after doping comments

Sprinter Usain Bolt said Thursday to reporters that he had "lost all respect" for Carl Lewis after the American was quoted saying Jamaica's doping controls were not as strong as other countries.
After winning the men's 200-metre Thursday, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt shared some harsh words about former 100 and 200 Olympic champion Carl Lewis and his remarks about Jamaican drug testing. (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

Sprinter Usain Bolt said Thursday to reporters that he had "lost all respect" for Carl Lewis after the American was quoted as saying Jamaica's doping controls were not as strong as other countries.

While not making any direct accusations, former 100 and 200 Olympic champion Lewis has said in recent years that Jamaican drug testing procedures might need to be tightened.

Bolt reacts to the gun on time

Track official Gordon Staines has two special words for Usain Bolt: "Thank you!"

Staines is the guy who fired the gun to start the men's 200-metre final Thursday night, and he's downright thrilled that Bolt and his other competitors stayed "steady" at the start of the race and that no one had to be disqualified.

"I know I breathed a big, big sigh of relief when the gun went and they went and there was no recall," he said Friday.

Staines, who is from Chesterfield in central England, is one of the thousands of people who perform those anonymous tasks that make the Olympics happen.

But all that pales compared to jobs like the one performed by Staines, the focus of international attention, if only for an instant. Who would want the job of potentially disqualifying Bolt? He had false started in the World Championships in the 100 metres last year. No pressure there.

"I can remember giving the command on your marks and the crowd going quiet," he said. "To think you've got 80,000 people in the stadium watching, you've got millions around the world watching, it then really hit home."

"All the athletes responded to my command of `on your marks' immediately. They all walked to the blocks. There was no gamesmanship. They all got down on the blocks together. They settled. The crowd went quiet. I held the nerves. I gave the set command. Every athlete risen [sic] together. They came up together. They stayed there. I fired the gun."

It all took 2.0 seconds. In the start world, that's perfect. No beeps in the ear.

"I went to bed last night [and] the adrenaline rush was still there," he said. "I'm still on a high."

—  Associated Press

With the smile that had been a constant fixture throughout his press conference vanishing from his face, Bolt lashed out at nine-time gold-medal winner Lewis after being asked if he'd like to be compared with him or late sprinting great Jesse Owens.

"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.

"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."

Asked which specific comments from Lewis made him angry, 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."

Lewis, the former 100 and 200 Olympic champion, has raised questions in recent years about Jamaican drug testing procedures.

Following Bolt's performance in Beijing, Lewis told Sports Illustrated: "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."

Bolt had already dealt with one question about doping when he was asked Thursday if he could guarantee that Jamaican sprinters — who swept the top three spots in the 200 — were clean.

"Without a doubt," Bolt said. "We train really hard."