Nine-time gold medalist Carl Lewis offered his endorsement to Tokyo’s 2020 bid when he visited the site Monday where he had the “race of my life.”
Lewis was in town working with young athletes who were victims of the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami, along with former triple jump world record holder Willie Banks and current long jump world record holder Mike Powell, whose 8.95 meters mark has stood for twenty-two years.
“I wish them the best of luck because I think they will put on a tremendous games,” Lewis told the Associated Press. “I will be at the 2020 Games wherever it is, and I hope it’s here.”
Lewis believes that Japan’s distinction as a country of technology and innovation is what sets them apart from fellow 2020 bidders Madrid and Istanbul.
“I’m all for progress,” he said. “I believe in high-technology. I believe in state-of-the art new stadiums for people. It makes it more comfortable and leads to improved performances by the athletes.
“Japan has always been a very high-tech community and I think it will be a showcase for a stadium probably more high-tech than any stadium that’s ever been made. I think it will be a great place to be.”
Of course, Lewis admitted he held a bias toward Tokyo because it was where he reclaimed the 100m world record from compatriot Leroy Burrell, running 9.86 seconds at the 1991 world championships.
Coincidentally, Mike Powell broke his record at the same meet:
“Japan has always had a special place in my heart. Breaking the world record here changed my life.”
London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to the report Tuesday. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.
On Tuesday, TASS reported that 14 Russian athletes, mostly in track and field, were suspected of doping during the Beijing Games after the retests, citing an unnamed Russian Olympic Committee source.
Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.
Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.
Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.
MORE: Russia track and field boss: ’50-60 percent’ chance of Olympics
Japan dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, who abandoned his bid to become the oldest Olympian ever in Rio, could see his career come full circle in four years.
Hoketsu, whose Olympic debut came at the Tokyo 1964 Games, is not ruling out attempting to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at age 79.
“If I can do it and be in Tokyo, that would be marvelous,” Hoketsu said, according to Reuters. “I have to see if it will still be physically possible.”
The oldest Olympian is Swede Oscar Swahn, who earned 1920 Olympic shooting silver at age 72.
Hoketsu, 75 and the oldest Olympian at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, sought to make his fourth Olympic team this year. It was derailed due to his horse’s illness.
After debuting at Tokyo 1964, Hoketsu went 44 years between Games appearances. He finished 41st out of 50 competitors in individual dressage at London 2012, according to sports-reference.com.
MORE: Oldest surviving Olympic champion dies