How Carl Lewis’ silence over Norman’s 100m PB, lays bare his blatant hypocrisy

By July 27, 2020

It’s been a week. Seven days or more than 10, 080 minutes since Michael Norman of the USA dropped a personal best of 9.86s at the AP Ranch High-Performance Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

It was an amazing performance by Norman, especially considering that he is a quarter-miler. It is even more amazing when you realize that Norman last ran a 100m in April 16, 2016, four years and three months ago.

Now, these observations are not to cast any doubts about the legitimacy of Norman’s time. In fact, I celebrate it. I like seeing new talent emerge; new exciting talent like Norman who many believe could be the man to break the 43-second barrier in the 400m.

I made the observation because over the past week I was waiting for one Carl Lewis to say whether he believes the time is suspicious because Norman’s previous best was 0.41 seconds slower than the time he ran in Texas last week Monday.

About 12 years ago, another talented sprinter that goes by the name of Usain Bolt secured the first of eight Olympic gold medals when he won the blue-ribbon sprint in Beijing in an astounding 9.69s. Lewis was quick to try to discredit Bolt’s achievement.

“…For someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you’re a fool. Period,” Lewis told Sports Illustrated magazine in 2008.

Back when Bolt dropped his 9.69 world record during the Beijing, Olympics, he had managed to shave 0.34 seconds off his previous personal best. If my memory serves me, he clocked 10.03 at GC Foster and then a couple of weeks later, he lowered his personal best to 9.76s at the Jamaica Invitational at the National Stadium in May that year.

He would run a 9.94 in Trinidad before heading to New York where he lowered his PB to 9.72, a new world record. He then shaved a further 0.03s off while winning in Beijing.

Like Norman, Bolt was a 200/400m man before he attempted the 100m. Before Bolt had transitioned from the junior ranks, he had run a World U20 200m record of 19.93 that still stands today. That was 2004. Since that time, Bolt had season-best times of 19.99 in 2005, 19.88 in 2006, and 19.75 in 2007;  time that indicated that by the time 2008 rolled around, Bolt was already capable of breaking 10 seconds.

Norman ran 19.70 in July 2019, while defeating Noah Lyles in an epic battle at the Diamond League meeting in Rome, 43.45 to open in 2019 as well as 43.61 while winning the NCAA Division 1 title for USC in 2018. Like with Bolt, the times suggest that Norman was already capable of breaking 10 seconds over the 100m.

So, to me, when Norman shaved a whopping 0.41 seconds off his previous best when he ran that 100m in Texas last week, it really wasn’t a surprise. However, we are still waiting to hear something from Lewis whether or not we are all fools not to suspect the young American.

That to me is where Lewis’ ignorance and hypocrisy are exposed.

To people like Lewis, the factors that lead to Bolt’s fast times were never taken into consideration. In his mind, someone like Bolt from a Third World country like Jamaica could not possibly run as fast without some kind of pharmaceutical assistance.

His silence now since Norman’s amazing run lays bare his true motivations when he spoke with Sports Illustrated 12 years ago.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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