Usain Bolt said he had “no respect” for Carl Lewis, the man whose Olympic feats he eclipsed with victory in the 200m, saying the American’s recent comments on doping were attention-seeking.
Bolt targeted the former Olympic 100m and 200m champion after becoming the first man to retain the double sprint titles with another scintillating performance in the 200m final.
The Jamaican was referring to recent comments from Lewis, who he said had appeared to question the validity of his achievements.
“I want to say that I have no respect for Carl Lewis. It is looking for attention, for an athlete out of the sport to be saying things is really upsetting," said Bolt. "He was talking about doping and for me he was just looking for attention.”
Bolt had earlier declared himself the greatest athlete of all time after winning the 200m to retain both short sprints, something Lewis did not achieve in his prime.
Bolt led a Jamaican clean-sweep of the medals, with Yohan Blake collecting his second silver medal of the Games, and former hurdler Warren Weir taking bronze in a personal best of 19.84sec.
Bolt’s winning time of 19.32sec was the joint fourth-fastest of all time and matched the time clocked by Michael Johnson in Atlanta in 1996. Bolt said he managed to equal it despite having a bad back.
Asked if the Jamaican track team were drug-free, Bolt insisted that they were running clean. He also dismissed comments from Victor Conte, suggesting that 60% of the athletes in London are doping, and criticised Carl Lewis for hinting that his success may not be as it seems.
“It is really annoying when people on the sidelines say stupid stuff. If you want attention then go and do something. A lot of the people who are trying to taint our sport, like Lewis, people don’t even remember who they are.
“Without a doubt we are drug-free. We train hard. I see us all train together, we throw up every day, we take ice baths, we end up flat out on the track. When people taint us it is really hard but we are trying our best to show the world that we are running clean.”
"It's what I came here to do. I'm now a legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson. I'm honoured."
He added: “The world record was possible when I came off the corner but I guess I wasn’t fit enough. I was fast but not fit enough, I could feel the strain on my back so I tried to keep my form and keep going.“It is hard for me, I really dedicate to my work, I know what London meant to me, and I gave it my all. I gave it my best it was hard I really wanted to break the world record and tried but just not fit enough.
In 2008 double Olympic champion Lewis said: "I'm still working with the fact that he [Bolt] dropped from 10-flat to 9.6sec in one year. I think there are some issues. I'm proud of America right now because we have the best random and most comprehensive drug testing program.
"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."
Only Blake and Bolt have run quicker than Bolt's 200m time, but the young pretender had no answer to his mentor, who was more relaxed than ever before the race.
He chatted with a volunteer as the athletes emerged, then fist bumped her colleague who stood behind his blocks. When he was introduced to the crowd he executed a slow royal wave, a stunt dreamt up before the race.
He was all business when the gun went however, getting a smart start by his standards and galloping into a decisive lead around the turn.
With the field beaten it was between Bolt and Blake, and with 70m to run the younger man tried to close, but the champion stretched again, held off his rival and cruised across the line, easing up slightly as he achieved the “double-double” he set as his London goal.
“It is the one I wanted and I got it, and I am very proud of myself,” Bolt said. “I had a tough season but I came here and did what I had to do.”
In the photo-finish picture, the first part of his body that broke the line was the finger he had raised to his lips. After the race he ran through the full range of antics, including press-ups on the finish line – an idea from his friends – and grabbed a camera to take pictures of his team-mates.
Bolt said he intended to rest before the relay and then celebrate properly at the weekend. “On Saturday I am going to celebrate like it is my birthday.”
Asked about the achievement of three men from the same track club sweeping the medals - all three train with Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Kingston - Bolt said: "It's wonderful. Jamaica has proven that we are the greatest sprint country. I've got nothing left to prove. I've showed the world I'm the best and, right now, I just want to enjoy myself."
By Paul Kelso