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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 April, 2003, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Cram: I don't believe Lewis

By Steve Cram
BBC Sport

Carl Lewis in serious mood
Lewis' reputation has taken a battering

I'm struggling to come to terms with this week's revelations about Carl Lewis, because the last conversation I had with Carl was about drugs - and I have rarely seen anyone so wound up.

We had been watching athletics in Stockholm and were travelling back on the same flight.

We had quite a long conversation in which he was throwing accusations all over the place about various American athletes and others, and how his exploits and mine were being run down by the fact that so many people these days were taking drugs.

He said the authorities were doing nothing about it and that people like him and me should be doing more about it.

I remember saying to him: "Carl, if you've got any evidence, fine, but you can't just go around spouting forth about people when you've have nothing to back it up with."

I've never seen anyone so animated on the subject - and now we find out that he knew then that he himself had been in that position.

Butch Reynolds was the 400 metres world record-holder when he was given a two-year ban in 1990
He sued the athletics authorities for 18m in damages
The case was thrown out of court but Reynolds only served eight months of his ban

I can only assume that he thinks it was such a minor misdemeanour that it wasn't worth mentioning.

Do I? Well, first of all, we should be pointing the finger at US Track and Field and the US Olympic Committee.

Neither have had the same attitude to drugs testing down the years as you find elsewhere.

Governing bodies are open to legal action, and in America they are particularly aware of that after the Butch Reynolds case.

But this does the sport no good whatsoever. And for Carl, no matter how great an athlete he was, people will now always doubt his legitimacy.

The questions tumble out - does this test detract from everything he did in his career, was he doing it throughout his career, did it mask other things...

I can't answer those. I don't know what else he was doing.

The fact that we have 19 American athletes, some of them Olympic medallists, failing these tests and it hasn't been made public - it's terrible that it has taken this long to come out.

It is this sense of conspiracy and cover-up that almost leaves a worse taste in the mouth for me.

When people think the authorities aren't doing their job properly, how can they ever trust the athletes?

Carl Lewis was a great athlete, full-stop - from day one. He wasn't someone who burst onto the scene from nowhere; he was a hugely talented athlete.

I used to look at Carl's career and think, well, it's a familiar pattern - dominated as a youngster, enjoyed a spell of dominance, and then gradually fell away.

That is what you expect from someone who isn't cheating.

He claims these substances came from a cold remedy he took.

Now, I have to be careful what I'm saying, but it seems funny to me that it's only athletes in the power events who ever seem to have colds.

It never seems to be a middle-distance runners who are caught taking flu remedies.

And even in my day you knew what you couldn't take when you had a cold, and Carl more than anyone else would have known that.

I simply can't buy that 'mistake' line as an excuse.

Steve Cram
"I simply can't buy that 'mistake' line as an excuse"

Lewis dismisses drugs claims
23 Apr 03  |  Athletics
Drugs chief claims US cover-up
18 Apr 03  |  Athletics

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