Fresh off completing his historic gold-medal double at the 2012 London Olympic, Usain Bolt has taken a swipe at American sprinter and legendary runner Carl Lewis.
Lewis—who won five sprint gold medals—had inferred that the fastest man in the world could have a drug link in his past and that only "time will tell" whether or not he is in fact clean and thus the greatest sprinter of all time.
Naturally Bolt reacted in defense, saying that he had lost all respect for Lewis after his comments, which can be seen via The Herald Sun:
When people ask me about Usain 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 [result] in a sport that has the [drug] reputation that it has right now, you're a fool. Period.
What is important to note here before we begin any discussion about who was right to say what and who wasn't, is that all sprinters have some level of arrogance and cockiness to them. You could nearly make an argument that it's an essential part of being a sprinter.
They are, after all, competing to be the fastest man in the world. Any doubts, any indecision is going to be found over 100 meters and mean the difference between success and failure.
There simply isn't any time to "warm into it"; they have to be completely ready from the moment that the gun goes off to the moment that they cross that white stripe at the other end of the track. Being cocky is part of being a top sprinter.
Having said that, being a hypocritical, judgmental, self-righteous, self-inflating, drug-taking, insensate, imperceptive blockhead isn't.
Oh yeah, and that was Carl Lewis. Not Usain Bolt.
The Jamaican sprinter has every single right in the world to slam Carl Lewis in defense of his image and reputation because he, unlike Lewis, has never been found guilty of drugs.
The American tested positive three times to drugs and his victory in the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100-meter final is considered the dirtiest race of all time, whilst Bolt has never been found guilty in all the drug tests and samples he has given.
His clean record allows him to make the comments he does about Lewis (again, via The Herald Sun)—especially about the hypocrisy of it all.
Carl Lewis, I have no respect for him.
The things he says about track athletes are very downgrading for us. I think he is looking for attention because no one talks about him. I think it was really sad when I heard the other day what he was saying.
For me, I have lost all respect for him, all respect.
It's all about drugs, [him] talking about drugs stuff. For athletes [who are] out of the sport saying that, that's really upsetting for me. For him to jump up and say something like that, as far as I am concerned, he is just looking for attention.
[Drug free?] Without a doubt.
The current world-record holder and Olympic champion in both the 100 and 200-meter events is always going to attract attention on and off the track, and it is natural to question the superhuman efforts that Bolt produces on the world's biggest stage.
But at the end of the day, there comes a point when we simply have to concede that the Jamaican legend is truly just a freak. There's no smoke and mirrors, there's no reason why, there's no drugs—he just is a freak of nature and the greatest sprinter of all time.
Bolt has never been found guilty and has never had his performances tainted by drug use—something that Carl Lewis cannot attest to.
Americans will naturally come to the defense of their icon—stating that Bolt's comments were out of line and that he has damaged his image in the United States, when in reality, it was Lewis that swerved out of his lane to throw a hypocritical shot at the drug-free Olympic champion.
Pat Forde at Yahoo! Sports writes in defense of Lewis that "at the height of his glory, [Bolt] stooped to petty shots at a track legend—not a great look for a champion".
Funny, really. I was about to share the same sentiments on Lewis.
Who by judging a clean sprinter as a drug-cheat has hypocritically condemned himself to look like the biggest fool of them all.
Was Usain Bolt right to react to Carl Lewis' drug-cheat comments?
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