Newly-crowned "greatest-ever sprinter" Usain Bolt said on Thursday he had lost all respect for Carl Lewis, the man whose on-track exploits he has surpassed with his unique Olympic double-double but who still leads the way in self-regard.

American Lewis is the only other man to win two Olympic 100m gold medals, the second coming in 1988 when he was promoted from second place after the disqualification of Ben Johnson.

He won the 200m in 1984 but managed only silver four years later. He did, however, have a remarkable run of success in the long jump, winning that event in four successive Games for a tally of nine golds in all.

In the wake of Bolt's triple-gold record success in Beijing Lewis was quick to point the finger of suspicion at him and Jamaica in general.

"I think there are some issues," he said at the time.

"Countries like Jamaica do not have a random (drugs testing) programme, 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.

"I'm not saying they've done anything for certain. I don't know. But how dare anybody feel that there shouldn't be scrutiny, especially in our sport?"

He has continued to fire broadsides ever since but Bolt, now with his sprinting record unquestionably superior, hit back.

"I'm going to say something controversial right now, Carl Lewis--I have no respect for him," Bolt said, having cited 1936 quadruple champion Jesse Owens as a man he held in the highest regard.

"The things he (Lewis) says about the track athletes, it's really downgrading for another athlete to be saying something like that about other athletes.

"I think he is just looking for attention really because nobody really talks much about him. It was really sad for me when I heard the other day what he was saying, it was upsetting.

"So, for me, I've lost all respect for him, all respect.

"It was all about drugs, about drugs stuff for me. For an athlete to be out of the sport saying that was really upsetting for me. As far as I am concerned he is just looking for attention."

Lewis tested positive three times for a stimulant before the 1988 Games but had the results overturned by American officials.

He was named "Athlete of the 20th Century" by the IOC, the IAAF, and American magazine Sports Illustrated and has always seemed uncomfortable with the idea that someone from the 21st could surpass his achievements.

Asked before the London Games what he thought of Bolt, he said: "It's just...interesting.

"I watch the results like everyone else and wait...for time to tell."

Even after Bolt won his second 100m title, Lewis's congratulations were wrapped in barbed wire.

"He repeats and he's tremendous and he's the second person to do it and congratulations," he said last week.

"The thing for me, what I really admire about anyone, is longevity. We still have to have the longevity and dominance through the era because for me performance-wise, you really have to put longevity in.

"I'm really not trying to take anything away from his performance because it was tremendous, but you've got to see the consistency over a period of time because as of now it's just a four-year period and you really have to see a continuous dominance.

"We'll see."


With tears rolling down her cheeks, Kelly-Ann Baptiste lamented her cruel fate.

For the third time in as many Olympic Games, a baton bungle ended Trinidad and Tobago's women's 4x100 metres campaign. On each occasion, Baptiste was part of the team.

"I can't explain it," she told the Express. "It's hard, because we all trained really good and wanted to come out here and have a good performance. To feel like you've done all you could in practice, and to train so hard and to come up short is just disappointing."

Michelle-Lee Ahye ran the leadoff leg for T&T in yesterday's final, at the Olympic Stadium, here in London, England. At the changeover, Baptiste reached for the baton, and reached again, but the exchange was never completed, and the country's hopes of a first-ever Olympic medal in a women's event were dashed.

"I don't have anything to say," said Baptiste. "We didn't make the handoff. I really couldn't tell you (what went wrong). I just didn't get the stick. "I can't question God," she continued, "so I'm just going to keep my head up and keep pushing."

Third leg runner Kai Selvon and anchorwoman Semoy Hackett watched on in agony, powerless to change T&T's fate.

United States struck gold, obliterating the world record in the process. Tianna Madison, 200m gold medallist Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter got the baton round the track in a jaw-dropping 40.82 seconds, slicing more than half a second off the 41.37 standard, established way back in 1985 by East Germany.

Jamaica picked up silver in a national record time of 41.41 seconds, while bronze went to Ukraine in 42.04—also a new national standard.

At four o'clock this afternoon (T&T time), Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman will bid for honours in the men's 4x100m final.

In the qualifying round, yesterday, the T&T quartet finished third in heat two in 38.10 seconds to secure an automatic berth in the championship race. United States produced a new national record, 37.38 seconds, to win the race, beating Japan (38.07) into second spot. Jamaica topped heat one in 37.39 seconds.

Thompson ran the leadoff leg for T&T, yesterday, handing the baton to Burns. Callender had third leg responsibilities, and Bledman anchored. The same quartet earned silver for T&T at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Four years ago, however, Bledman led off and Thompson anchored.

"We all have faith in the leg that we're running," Thompson told the Express, "and we believe this is the best order for us to win a medal. We know our chances are strong, so we just have to execute properly. I feel like the execution could have been a little better , so as long as everything is cleaned up tomorrow (today), there's no doubt in my mind that we could win a medal.

"With a relay, anything can go wrong, anything is possible, so it was just about getting the stick around. We thank God we were able to do that, and have a berth into the final."

Burns said he is pleased to be in the medal race.

"We made it to the next round, and that's all that matters. Each of us know what's at stake and the adjustments we need to make for the final. But we'll be okay."

Callender is confident of earning a second Olympic sprint relay medal.

"One hundred per cent. In all things, just having faith in God, anything is possible."

Bledman had some work to do on the home straight, yesterday, to ensure T&T claimed one of the three automatic qualifying berths up for grabs in heat two. "This is the first time we ever tried this order, but we trust in the team and trust in God. Tomorrow (today) is a different day. We're going to go out even tougher."

T&T have been drawn way out in lane nine for today's championship race. Defending champions Jamaica will run in lane six, next to United States, in seven.

Keshorn Walcott will be at the Olympic Stadium today, for the 2.20 p.m. (T&T time) men's javelin final. When he takes his first throw in the competition, the 19-year-old will become the first male field athlete from T&T to compete in an Olympic final.

By Kwame Laurence


DEXTER VOISIN, manager of the Trinidad and Tobago team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, stated his delight in the performances of the national athletes, in track and field as well as the other sporting disciplines.

In an interview from London on Tuesday, Voisin said, “we can safely say so far we are having one of the better Olympics in terms of the amount of finals that we are in.

“And not just track and field but the whole Trinidad and Tobago team,” he added. “Njisane Phillip (and) George Bovell reaching semi-finals (respectively in cycling and, in Bovell’s case, 50m freestyle final).

Voisin continued, “but if you focus on track and field, so far we had five finalists (up until Tuesday) and one bronze medal. That is a very good achievement so far.

“We have a couple of events to go, as recently as Semoy Hackett who made it to the 200-metre final, for the women,” he continued. “That’s a first, for a female, making it to the 200m final.

“The track and field team, we have been having some good performances. I’m not going to make any predictions. The first objective is to get to the finals.”

Looking at the opposition in the track and field arena, Voisin commented, “the competition, so far, in the Olympics has been very high, seven men in the 100m final going under ten seconds for the first time.

“The women 100m final was the fastest final ever. The competition is very high and our athletes are doing well so far. Some of the athletes have confessed they could have done much better. From my standpoint, we are doing well.”

He spoke briefly on men’s 400m bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, who rose from obscurity to claim a medal in Monday’s Final. Voisin acknowledged Gordon’s low profile, stating, “everyone in the world is asking (who is Gordon), even in Trinidad.

“Coming into the Olympic Games, he was an unknown. Basically what he did was shock the whole world.”


In an already hot London morning, T&T 4x400 metres relay team made it even hotter when scorching the track at the Olympic Stadium, to win the first heat in 3:00.38, a new national record, yesterday at the Olympic Games in England. Some nine hours later, the 4x100m women’s team of Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle Lee Ahye, Kai Selvon and Semoy Hacket, did the same, breaking the national record in a time of 42.31 and placing second in heat one, in the evening session, to also automatically qualify for today’ final at 3.40 pm (T&T time). The faces of Olympic bronze-medallist Lalonde Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte, Jarrin Solomon and Deon Lendore glowed with excitement after the accomplishment and the possibilities that exist in the final, set for today at 4.20 pm. Lendore ran a spectacular final lap, coming from third place with some 20 metres to go, to tie with Great Britain (3:00.38) for first place. “We had the right mindset to come in the top three. We went out there and everybody did the best that they could. We believed in each other and that helped us to come out with a new national record and first spot.” Not since the 1992 Barcelona Games has T&T had a 4x400m team qualify for an Olympic final.
The youngsters eclipsed the time of 3:01.05 achieved by Alvin Daniel, Neil De Silva, Patrick Delice and Ian Morris. Gordon, who gave the local team a strong start, had the day before, made a bold statement that he and his teammates will do well even in the absence of 400m specialist Renny Quow, who was forced out of the Games due to a hamstring injury. Yesterday he stayed firm in his belief that his unit can make it all the way to the podium. “We will get a medal, don’t worry,” said the always smiling Gordon. “I’m feeling great. I’m feeling that we will go a little faster tomorrow (today) because most of the guys haven’t run in weeks so after this first run their body wake up now so tomorrow we will go for a faster time.”  Solomon, son of Michael “Mike” Solomon, a former T&T athlete, who had specialised in both the 400m and 4x400m relay, and Ade Alleyne-Forte agreed with Gordon. Alleyne-Forte said, “I felt a little rusty in my first run in about a month but we got the job done and that is the important thing and we are happy about it.” Solomon added, “Like myself and Ade, it’s our first race in about month. We have been training hard but I had to blow the rust off but I was ready to run. We’re hungry for a medal. We saw Lalonde get a bronze medal and we all want a medal too. We’re going to go as fast as we can to get a gold medal.”
The second heat of the event was as intense as the first. USA and Bahamas were also given the same time: 2:58.87, in the second semi-final, to qualify with the quickest times overall. Cuba and Russia will join the top four automatic qualifiers in the final after they also hit qualification times in the heats. Any hopes of Usain Bolt appearing in the finale were squashed when Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales pulled up injured on the third leg. A South Africa team featuring Oscar Pistorius also failed to finish their heat after Ofentse Mogawane crashed out. As Pistorius waited to collect the baton from Mogawane on the third leg, he collided with Kenya's Vincent Kiilu and was sent sprawling to the track, a shoulder injury leaving him unable to continue. The Kenyan team was disqualified and the South Africans lodged an appeal which they won. The jury of appeal met and agreed to advance the South African team to the final, even though they did not finish the race considering that their chances had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya. The women team bettered the previous record of 42.50 which was established last year at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Lee Ahye ran the first leg, giving T&T a good start. She handed off to Baptiste, who stayed close to early leader Jeneba Tarmoh of the USA team.
The transition from Baptiste to Selvon was not the smoothest of handovers but the national 200m champion regained composure and had T&T in with a chance. By the time Hackett collected the baton, the Americans with Lauryn Williams, running the anchor leg, raced away to top the group with a season-best 41.64. Third was Netherlands in 42.45. The other finalists are Ukraine (42.36), Jamaica (42.37), Brazil (42.55), Germany (42.69) and Nigeria (42.74). Speaking on the behalf of the quartet, Baptiste said: “We’re happy. Hopefully we’ll get some great passes to put ourselves into contention to win a medal. That would be good. We did not have a good handover and still got a national record, it is a good thing." With two down and one to go, their male counterparts will be looking to follow suite when they line-up in the heats of the Men’s 4x100m relay event from 2.45 pm. The responsibility falls on Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Rondell Sorrillo, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Jamol James from which the final team will be picked. “I think we will do well in the 4x100m relay. The race that we put together in London shows that we are capable of running very fast because we ran 38.23 in the rain and in the cold. The conditions were poor and we were still able to put together a fast time without Bledman,” said Thompson, the double Olympic silver medallist. “With Bledman back in the mix it gives us a stronger chance of winning it all.”
By Rachael Thompson-King

For the first time in 20 years, Trinidad and Tobago will compete in an Olympic Games 4x400 metres final. But the four men expected to represent the Red, White and Black in today's 4.20 p.m. (T&T time) championship race are not satisfied with mere participation.

In fact, Ade Alleyne-Forte believes that the Americans–gold medallists in the event 16 times–can be beaten.

"They're most definitely vulnerable. We're like sharks in the water. We're smelling the blood and we're trying to go get it, trying to get our food. We need to eat too."

At the Olympic Stadium, yesterday, men's 400m bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Alleyne-Forte and 19-year-old Deon Lendore, running in that order, combined for victory in the first qualifying heat in three minutes, 00.38 seconds–a new national record.

"I'm happy we came out on top," said Gordon. "Looking forward to the final."

After a good start from Gordon, Solomon continued the fine work, earning T&T a five-metre lead halfway through the race. But Alleyne-Forte, who came into the team as a replacement for the injured Renny Quow, found the going tough, slipping to third. T&T were still third when anchorman Lendore came off the final turn, but he produced a strong run on the home straight, leaning at the line to hand his team victory by the narrowest of margins.

Lendore, who bowed out of the individual 400m event in the opening round after finishing fifth in his heat in 45.81 seconds last Saturday, produced an impressive 44.49 seconds split in yesterday's relay.

"From the open four, I saw I wasn't really in the shape I thought I would have been in, so I came out in the relay to try to measure myself, so I'll go into the final a little more confident. I didn't get the first part of the race, so I had a lot to do coming home. I didn't want to come in two or three. I wanted the first place in order to get a good lane, so it could be better for us when we go into the final."

T&T will start in lane four in today's medal race. Great Britain finished second to T&T in yesterday's opening heat, also in 3:00.38, while Cuba clocked 3:00.55 to earn the third automatic qualifying berth up for grabs.

South Africa's second leg runner, Ofentse Mogawane, fell during the race, and his team did not finish. However, it was determined that Kenyan Vincent Mumo Kiilu had cut across Mogawane. The Kenyans were disqualified, while the South Africans were given a spot in the final by the jury of appeal. Solomon was superb on the second leg for T&T, combining with Gordon to lay a solid foundation for the record run.

"I'm feeling really good," Solomon told the Express. "My body's in the best shape of my life."

The second heat was also a close contest. Bahamas won in 2:58.87, the same time clocked by second-placed United States.

But though no T&T team has ever run under three minutes, Solomon is certain T&T will be in the hunt for gold.

"We ain't really care about time. We just want to get the medal, so as fast as it takes to get that gold medal, that is what we're going to do."

Lendore is also determined to climb the podium. "I'm inspired by Lalonde. He inspired the whole team to try and get a medal too."

At 2.53 this afternoon (T&T time), T&T will bid for a men's 4x100m championship race lane. The track and field team manager, here in London, Dexter Voisin, said that Richard "Torpedo" Thompson will run the leadoff leg, handing off to Marc Burns. Emmanuel Callender performs third leg duties, while the anchor leg responsibility is Keston Bledman's.

T&T will run in lane four in the second of two heats, next to France, in five. United States have been drawn in lane seven.

Heat one will feature reigning Olympic champions, Jamaica.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Jamaica won in a then world record time of 37.10 seconds, while T&T clocked 38.06 to earn silver.