| Carl Lewis thinks it wasn’t serious and he got away like many others
Los Angeles: Nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis indicated Wednesday he had tested positive for three banned substances, but had been let off by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Lewis, who also said a herbal supplement that triggered his positive tests at the 1988 Olympic trials gave him no advantage, told the Orange County Register newspaper that he was treated the same as “hundreds of others” who tested positive.
“There were hundreds of people getting off,” Lewis said in his first public comments since the newspaper reported last week that more than 100 US athletes were allowed to compete after failing drugs tests between 1988 and 2000.
“Everyone was treated the same,” added Lewis who tested positive three times for pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine — stimulants banned by the US and International Olympic Committees.
Lewis was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol after his 2004 Maserati hit a wall along a Los Angeles freeway early Monday.
The California Highway Patrol said a breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was .08 per cent, a reading at which a driver is considered intoxicated in California.
Lewis repeatedly referred questions about his arrest to his publicist, who did not immediately return a phone call.
The newspaper had reported, after obtaining documents from Wade Exum, the USOC director for drug control between 1991 and 2000, that Lewis was disqualified. The USOC later accepted his appeal on the basis that he had taken an herbal supplement and was unaware of its contents.
Lewis, who insisted the herbal supplement he took did not give him an advantage, received a warning after US officials ruled his positive tests were due to “inadvertent” use.
“The climate was different (then),” Lewis added in an interview published Wednesday. “Over the years a lot of people will sit around and debate that it does something. There really is no pure evidence to show that it does something. It does nothing.”
Lewis won the 100m gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics after Canada’s Ben Johnson was stripped of the title and his world record of 9.79 seconds after he tested positive for steroids.
It was the biggest scandal in the history of the Olympic Games.
Johnson’s former manager suggested that Lewis be stripped of his medals.
“Do you expect him to say anything different' I mean we’re talking about Ben Johnson. Come on. Let’s be realistic,” Lewis said.
The USOC denied the initial newspaper reports of Exum’s claims, saying that he had planned to use the documents in a law suit against it for racial discrimination and wrongful dismissal.
Exum’s case was dismissed in court through lack of evidence.
USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel has said the organisation sees no reason for an audit or review, and that there was no evidence that any of the cases were mishandled.
He added the new US Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency were formed in 2000 because of the same problems revealed in the documents.
Lewis, 41, meanwhile said he was not concerned about the uproar around the world caused by the revelations.
“I’ve been retired for five years, and they’re still talking about me,” Lewis said. “So I guess I still have it.”