November 15 - American sprint and long jump legend Carl Lewis has accused London, whose bid was led by Sebastian Coe, of securing the 2017 World Athletics Championships via a "backroom deal" and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of selecting host cities in a "seedy" way.
London will stage the event for the first time after beating Qatari capital Doha 16-10 in a seemingly clean contest in Monaco last Friday (November 11).
But in a remarkable outburst made to a local reporter, while attending the Aspire4Sport conference here, Lewis (pictured above with Coe), who won nine Olympic gold medals during a glittering career, threw the book at the authorities.
"London of course is a great destination for the '17 Worlds but as usual we knew it was a backroom deal," the 50-year-old American was quoted as saying.
"The [meeting] promoters started complaining that you'd better have it in London or else we are going to pack up."
Although he had nothing against London, Lewis said that was not the point.
"The real issue here is the way the IAAF selects host cities and how they continue to do things," he told the official daily conference publication without elaborating.
"The seedy way in which they make decisions is really unfortunate.
"But that doesn't diminish the fact that London is a great city."
Lewis encouraged Doha to bid again for 2019 regardless of the stifling temperatures here in the Gulf state.
"I don't want to hear the heat argument again," he said.
"People who complain about the heat are from the regions with cooler climes.
"I live in Houston, Texas, where temperatures often dip very low.
"But I've never complained while competing in European nations which had much hotter climes than my place.
"Heat shouldn't be a factor when it comes to selecting host nations.
"Athletics is a sport which is finding it difficult to even organise a World Championships every two years.
"So when a new country is ready to invest so much in the sport, we should run to them.
"I hope they [Doha] go back in 2019 and win it."
Today, as part of a panel on Olympic success, Lewis, who also won eight World Championship golds, bemoaned the lack of long jump progress since the days of himself and, earlier still, Bob Beamon.
"We are relying too much on technology," said Lewis.
"Let's go back to the basic elements of strength, angles and force instead of worrying so much about trying to get into the future.
"In my day we trained five days a week and took two days off.
"Technology is great but the simple things don't change.
"We're getting more technology and worse coaches.
"Our sport is going backwards.
"For years Bob jumped further than anyone else, then both myself and Mike Powell also jumped 29 feet.
"But no one has done that in years.
"We are not even teaching people these days how to run down a runway and jump."
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