Exclusive: I have no idea who'll win the London 2012 100m, admits Lewis
Saturday, 04 August 2012
August 4 - Carl Lewis admits he is so out of touch with top-class sprinting these days that he has no idea who will win tomorrow's 100 metres, the blue riband event of London 2012.
Jamaica's defending champion Usain Bolt goes head-to-head with his compatriot Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay of the United States at the Olympic Stadium but Lewis (pictured above), who won nine Olympic golds at either sprinting or long jump during his illustrious career for the United States, has little or no interest in who takes the title in the most eagerly awaited showdown of the Games.
"It's bizarre to even say this but I don't follow it in that context," Lewis, who since his retirement has concentrated on his Carl Lewis Foundation charity, told insidethegames.
"I work with kids who are 18 and under so I couldn't pick ten people out of a line-up, which is kind of crazy.
"I couldn't even pick five sprinters out of a line-up, including the Americans."
The countdown towards what is already being dubbed the fastest race in history, featuring the four fastest men on the planet, has already started.
Rumours abound that Bolt, who won a dazzling sprint double in Beijing four years' ago but was beaten twice by Blake at the Jamaican trials, may be carrying an injury.
Lewis, who competed at four separate Games, says pressure shouldn't come into it.
"I don't really believe there's pressure on anyone, I mean I went through a lot of processes," he said.
"If there's pressure on you then it's a lack of confidence, whoever you are if you're prepared and you're ready to go in then you just do it."
With a number of competitors from different sports already thrown out of London 2012 for failing drugs tests, Lewis believes this proves the authorities are doing a decent job in catching the cheats.
With many athletes now subject to special passports to monitor their biological profiles, Lewis continued: "I think the passport seems like it's something that's a bright idea...obviously it's working because they've caught people."
The 51-year-old American, who famously competed alongside Ben Johnson at Seoul 1988 when the Canadian was stripped of the 100m gold medal for testing positive for steroids, added: "I'm confident the authorities doing what they can and they're trying to do the best they can.
"But every country and every athlete has to be involved in the process as well because no matter who you are, there's just no way you can do it by yourself, someone's always helping someone.
"Every kid should want to grow up to be in a sport where is clean so they can compete at their best."
Lewis was speaking at the launch of Doha Goals, the latest initiative by the progressive Gulf state to use sport as tool for social change, centred on a high-profile conference in December which he will be attending.
Although Qatar missed out on being shortlisted for hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Lewis says the tiny Gulf state should not be discouraged from pursuing the dream.
"They are learning, they're becoming a country that loves sports and they are putting together the infrastructure or the idea to say 'look, we can do this, we can handle it, however we want to handle it'," he said.
"I just think it's a process that happens, America didn't get on the shortlist before and eventually did get it and just this past time we lost out to Rio [for 2016] so these things happen."
Lewis sees a direct comparison between his much-admired Foundation and what Qatar is trying to do to develop sport.
"My parents started a track club back in the 1970s and it was a club that got me involved in sports," he explained.
"I saw how they started the club from scratch, built the club up...and managed hundreds of kids every year.
"I saw how important it could be, how it affected our community.
"Ultimately, five of those kids went on to the Olympics and I saw that so it really fits in to the things that I grew up doing and what I'm doing now through my foundation."