Olympic rant #16 Journalism 101 Create a furore
THE Bolt v Lewis drug brouhaha was a classic media beat-up. It raced across international television screens and newspaper front pages with a speed worthy of the central characters.
Carl Lewis points the finger
only to have it bitten off
There was little to the yarn and it was hardly news but, by the time the egg-beater had a mish-mash, it came out thicker and messier than chocolate pudding.
A London Sun journo had the most measured report on the story and it is not often you can say that.
Steven Howard wrote in The Sun
‘Usain Bolt talked about Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Bob Marley. And those Swedish handball players.
And sex. And drugs. And rock ’n roll.
And how Manchester United should sign Robin van Persie.
And how he thought that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio would be Mission Impossible.
He even talked about cricket and the IPL.
And he put the boot in on Carl Lewis, which he probably shouldn’t have done.’
Yes, Bolt could have left out the bit about the Swedish handball players and should have swallowed the lines about Carl Lewis when they popped up his throat.
The wordy Bolt had come to speak on many things. He felt provoked by Carl Lewis’s assertion that Bolt’s incredible feats might be drug induced.
Wiki says Lewis made his remarks during the London Games. Someone bettere tell them it’s dead wrong. I tried correcting a Wiki article once but getting accreditation to do so baffled me.
Other reports had Lewis makibg the veiled accusations ‘pre-game’. That was more accurate, as I guess 2008, or 45BC, for that matter, is pre-game. Bolt had obviously been stewing over the insults for four years and fired back.
Carl Lewis made his assertions in a Sports Illustrated article after Bolt’s 100m and 200m victories at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Following the international protocols of calling someone a drug cheat, Lewis in http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/09/11/carl.lewis/
demurred he was not saying Bolt was on drugs.
‘Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I’m not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field.
…he’s not going to have me saying he’s great and then two years later he gets popped.’
It was all a misunderstanding. Lewis did not say Bolt was on drugs. It was just that Bolt and upwards of 10 million readers thought Lewis was saying just that. Bolt silently did his years of stewing. At London 2012, with back-to-back golds in the 100m and 200m and totally unpopped, he hit back.
Four years down the athletics track, should have left Lewis alone. It was unfair of Bolt to bring it up as if it were yesterday Lewis said it. Some articles mentioned Lewis had tested positive three times before the 1988 Olympics. No article that I read added Lewis was exonerated on the grounds the drugs, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, andphenylpropanolamineLewis’s name.
Lewis fared badly on Twitter.
If you are Jamaican I think you should be allowed to slap Carl Lewis in the mouth with a breadfruit.
Carl Lewis’s reputation ko’ed. On the night Bolt achieved what he never could, a bitter man who failed 3 drugs tests gets put in his place
@CharlesRobinson Nobody under 30 knows who Carl Lewis is. They know who Usain Bolt is.
Actually, Lewis’s Sports Illistrated interview finished with a musical analogy which he should have been spruiking earlier insyead od f drugs in reference to Bolt.
‘We get caught up in comparing all the time. I have this discussion with young people. They’ll tell me Beyonce is better than so-and-so. Why can’t we just say that Beyonce is amazing and so-and-so is amazing? I mean Ella Fitzgerald is amazing. Sarah Vaughan is amazing. Whitney Houston is amazing. Why do you have to say that Beyonce is better? Let’s just be happy that we had a chance to celebrate all of them.’
Well said Carl. Why could you have stuck to such a line, throughout? When Black women and men become role models, it is unseemly to see them fighting among themselves. Also you have mentioned Billie Holiday .
For his part, Bolt was at his best in victory interviews when he talked about Bob Marley.
‘And who was the greatest Jamaican — him or Bob Marley?
Bolt said: “When it comes to Bob Marley, he is one of the greatest ever out of Jamaica.
“He really did wonderful things for the country before me.
“So I’m just carrying out his duty.
“We’re the same, we have the same goal to make Jamaica one of the most loved and finest countries in the world.’
Bernie Dowling, August 11, 2012