60 Seconds with Carl Lewis
Former sprint and long-jump Olympic champion Carl Lewis' career has not been without the odd moment of controversy. Often outspoken, the sportsman turned actor is without question one of the world’s most renowned Olympians – winning an extraordinary ten Olympic medals over his career. Online Editor Carys Matthews caught up with Carl to find out how he has been enjoying London 2012.
How have you enjoyed the Olympics?
I think it has gone very well. It’s been great for Britain. For months I’ve been saying that Britain is going to have their best games ever - even though lots of people have been saying its too much pressure, and the team won’t do well! I think the GB team has performed well for the home crowd. I was here a month ago and everyone was talking about the weather, but it’s been great and everyone’s been so happy.
Do you think it will leave a lasting legacy for the UK?
I think it will, but it will depend on how Britain plans for the future. Every venue was planned out very well, and although it’s not a great thing that there’s not enough tickets it shows the level of interest in sport that everyone wants one.
How does it compare to your own Olympic experiences?
I think London is great, as coming from America it's like New York but with a different accent. I mean I felt like I was at home as I arrived and took the javelin train out to a mall – what’s more American than that! I’ve been to a lot of games and will continue to do so until I can’t anymore.
How has the Olympics changed since you competed?
When I was growing up in 1961 we only had one TV in the house, which we would all watch together. It’s the same with the Olympics – families sit down to watch it together, even though most have more than one TV the games bring people together. That hasn't changed.
Which event have you enjoyed watching the most?
I like all of them, but the one event that stands out for me is the women’s soccer, as that to me is the event which had so much emotion as it had the absolute complete opposite of emotions. I mean pure ecstasy and anger was right there and nothing else mattered. It was all about two groups where one had to win and one loose – not matter how great either team were.
What stands out as the highlight of your own sporting and Olympic career?
I’ve been lucky to perform at two home games, but for me LA was top as I was lucky enough to win all four games I was in. Nothing will beat that. LA without question.
Does sport and fitness still play an important role in your life?
Oh it’s very important. I do most the things I did before I retired, although of course I don’t train, but I still have the same diet, workout plenty and watch my weight, as I always want to feel good. I think a part of fitness has to be vanity, as you have to be able to say ‘I don’t want to gain weight, I want to be healthy, I want to be able to do things such as pick up my grandkids when I’m older’.
So, you have to have multiple layers. If you just say 'hey I just want to feel great' - that’s not enough, as you’ve got to decide what else is important to you to keep your fitness up.
Carl joined marathon running legend Paula Radcliffe
at the Nike + FuelStation launch at Clapham Common - a digitally enabled sporting clubhouse designed to inspire London's athlete community. To join enter here.