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.”
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian torch relay for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has kicked off with volleyball player Fabiana Claudino running the first leg after the torch was ignited by embattled President Dilma Rousseff.
Rousseff says “Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history.”
The Olympic flame arrived in a lantern on a flight from Switzerland a few hours earlier and was taken to the Planalto presidential palace.
The three-month relay across Brazil, ending at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, will involve 329 cities and 12,000 torchbearers. Rio organizers hope it will build enthusiasm for the games, which has lagged as Brazil battles bribery and corruption scandals and its deepest recession in decades.
The start of the relay comes just a week before the Brazilian senate is expected to suspend Rousseff for six months as it considers her impeachment.
MORE: Rio Olympic flame will live downtown — not in stadium
Michael Phelps could face his lightest-ever competition run-up to an Olympic Trials after opting not to swim at a meet in Atlanta next week.
Last week, Phelps noted one other scheduled meet before the U.S. Olympic Trials (June 26-July 3). That’s in Austin, Texas, from June 3-5.
In his previous four Olympic cycles, Phelps swam at least two meets in the final two months before the Olympic Trials, according to USA Swimming statistics.
Phelps’ training plan in May and June will be impacted by the impending birth of his first child. Fiancée Nicole Johnson is 36 weeks pregnant, according to her Instagram.
Without Phelps, the Atlanta meet is expected to include five-time 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian and rising sprint freestyler Caeleb Dressel.
VIDEO: Phelps’ interview with Matt Lauer