Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis airmails first pitch at Astros game (video)

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Carl Lewis‘ arm strength has improved drastically over the last 10 years. The nine-time Olympic champion went just a bit high on his ceremonial first pitch at a Houston Astros game Tuesday night.

After, Lewis, who went to the University of Houston, was asked what time he would run the 100 meters in today.

“The time wouldn’t be the issue,” Lewis, 52, said. “The issue would be how many body parts would cross the line with me.”

Houston was also the site of Lewis’ retirement in 1997, in quite unusual fashion. He ran an unopposed anchor leg of a 4×100-meter relay exhibition during halftime of a Houston-Pitt college football game.

“I wanted to run fast enough to look good and slow enough so it didn’t end so fast,” Lewis, then in dreadlocks, told Sports Illustrated in 1997.

Lewis remembered that during his interview Tuesday.

“The greatest thing about my career is that probably one of the three greatest moments of my career was the day I retired,” he said. “Because I did it on the track I trained on every day. All my teammates were there, I knew that I was never going to get better again. I’ve never wanted to run a second since. I hear people all the time say, ‘God I retired too early,’ and I did not. I retired at the exact right time.”

Lewis also said the 100 meters, where he won back-to-back Olympic titles in 1984 and 1988, was his No. 3 event behind the long jump and the 200.

Back to the first pitch. It’s at least the third time Lewis has thrown a first pitch (with video evidence).

In 2003, his throw didn’t make it halfway to home plate at Safeco Field.

Earlier this year, Lewis gave up entirely and sprinted the ball from the mound to home plate.

We’ve also seen Lewis perform less than stellar in another pregame ceremony:

(h/t @chrisnickinson)

World Track and Field Championships broadcast schedule

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics