Athletes must decide on future of their sport: Lewis

Fri Aug 7, 2015 1:09am EDT
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By Enrique Pretel

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Athletes must themselves decide the future they want for their sport following the latest doping crisis, former Olympic sprint champion Carl Lewis said on Thursday.

Athletics was rocked by a damning report in British newspaper The Sunday Times and by German broadcaster ARD/WDR at the weekend that accused the International Association of Athletics Federations of failing to investigate hundreds of what they called "suspicious" drug tests between 2001 and 2012.

The report raised new questions about the sport just weeks before the Aug. 22-30 world championships in Beijing.

"The future of athleticism depends on the athletes," Lewis told Reuters ahead of the inauguration of the NACAC athletics championships in Costa Rica. "At the end of the day, the sport is going to be as good as the athletes want.

"If they really want changes, they want the sport to grow, then they are the ones that have to stand up and work with the powers to make sure it happens."

Lewis, who raced during an era that produced a number of high profile positive tests that tarnished the entire sport, was awarded the 100m gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 after Canada's Ben Johnson was stripped of the title for doping.

Lewis, who also won the 100m and 200m at Los Angeles in 1984 and ended with four long jump golds amongst his nine Olympic titles, said he was not interested in dwelling on the Johnson case.

"I look at that like high school," the 54-year-old said. "It's like asking how did you do in math class, what was your grade? It's like 30 years ago."   Continued...

Former U.S. Olympic athlete Carl Lewis is seen through the viewfinder of a video camera as he  attends a media conference before the North, Central America and Caribbean Senior Championships inauguration at the National stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate