Bangalore: At 52, Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis can be mistaken for an athlete in his prime, save his white-speckled pate, and is as riveting a personality as he was in his salad days when he won nine Olympic gold medals besides a host of World championship laurels. None of the old aura has diminished.
Here as a Brand Ambassador for the TCS World 10K Bangalore run scheduled for Sunday, Lewis, speaking at a Media interaction on Friday on various athletics-related topics, hoped that the sport would be cleansed of doping.
Voted the Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Athlete of the Century by the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lewis urged world's top athletes to come out in the open and speak on the doping issue.
"The athletes are pretty silent on the issue, but they should come out in the open and speak out. We need a clean sport," he said with reference to the spate of doping-related scandals leading to suspension of several top athletes.
Lewis opened the media conference by saying: "I have been to India many times, visited the Taj Mahal and done all that, but this is the first time I am in Bangalore, and I am honoured to be associated with the TCS World 10K Bangalore as the Brand Ambassador. It is good that so many people are taking part. It is not just about running, but community."
Looking every inch a top Olympic athlete, Lewis also spoke at length about his post-retirement life and said he was happy that he was busier on quitting athletics after the 1996 Olympics than during his competitive days.
"After I retired, I have been into many things. I am the Brand Ambassador for United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, I travel to events such as this (the World 10K), I have my own marketing and branding company, and I also coach at the University of Houston (his alma mater). So, I am busier now than ever before. I will turn 53 soon (July 1) and have options," said Lewis when asked about his post-retirement life.