WORLD’S fastest man Usain Bolt launched a stinging verbal attack on former track great Carl Lewis last night after confirming, in his own words, his legendary status by becoming the first man to retain both individual Olympic sprint titles.
Bolt said he had lost all respect for Lewis, and cast doubt on his own future in athletics, in a startling press conference that followed a Jamaican clean sweep of the 200m final, in which he claimed a second gold of London 2012 from Yohan Blake and Warren Weir .
The five-time Olympic champion explained he had been angered by recent comments from American former sprint and long-jump gold medallist Lewis, which Bolt suggested had raised doubts over whether track stars were drug-free.
“Carl Lewis I have no respect for. The things he says about track athletes are really downgrading for another athlete to be saying,” he said, having already reaffirmed that the Caribbean island’s remarkable recent success had no link to doping.
“I think he’s just looking for attention, because no one talks about him. That was really sad for me when I heard what he has saying. It was all about drugs, talking about drugs, drug stuff.
“That was upsetting so for me I’ve lost all respect for him, all respect.”
Bolt, who won in 19.32 seconds – 0.13 outside his own world record, said he had completed the goal he set himself “to become a legend” and accepted that he now belonged in the same bracket as sporting icons Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.
“I’m guessing I am in that category but I’ll let people decide that – I just know I’m a legend,” added Bolt, who could complete a triple title defence in Saturday’s 4x100m relay.
But having achieved his track ambitions he admitted to uncertainty over his next challenge, predicting Blake would surpass him by the Rio Olympics in 2016 and tossing around talk of the long-jump, playing football professionally and racing Kenyan David Rudisha, who broke the 800m world record in winning gold last night, over 400m.
“I’ve said for the past three years this is what I wanted and now I’ve done it I’m going to sit back and relax and think about my next goal,” he said. “I need to find something to really motivate me. If I can’t then maybe football, I don’t know.”
Blake ran a season’s best of 19.44 and Weir, winning his first major medal, a personal best of 19.84 in the first 200m final to feature four sub-20 second men.
The night’s other star was Rudisha, who broke his own world record by 0.1 seconds to win the fastest ever 800m final, Great Britain’s Andrew Osagie finishing eighth in a time that would have earned gold at the last three Olympics.