By Nancy Gillen |
Former men’s 100-meter world record-holder and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis claimed that the 2019 Pan American Games will have a “profound impact” on the host country Peru.
Lewis made the comments in a press conference also attended by fellow American Leroy Burrell, another former 100m world-record holder and Olympic champon.
The pair are in Lima as coaches for five athletes participating in the track and field competition, starting tomorrow at VIDENA Sport Complex.
Lewis spoke of his own affinity with the Pan American Games, before discussing the 2019 edition taking place here in the Peruvian capital.
“It’s going to have a profound impact on this community,” the two-times Pan American Games gold medallist said, having triumphed in the men’s long jump and 4x100m relay at Indianapolis 1987.
“I do not know lot about the Peruvian athletes as I have not been here before.
“It is important what they are doing though, representing the country in a way people can be proud of.
“I have heard ticket sales for athletics have been strong and the bigger issue is the impact coming out of this.
“The Peruvian athletes will inspire young people.
“They will see them in the Games and then they will want to win the Games.”
Burrell was complimentary about the athletics stadium at VIDENA, built specifically for Lima 2019, claiming it will have an important role in the development of athletics in Peru.
“I haven’t even been here 24 hours but I had the opportunity to go by the stadium,” he said.
“The first thing I did was call back to the US and say the facilities were astounding.
“To walk into that facility, I was amazed.
“That is the foundation that a champion or two will be built on.”
Athletics will take place here until August 12, with medals set to be won in 42 track and field events.
Lewis has been invited by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic to present medals for the men’s 100m and long jump.
The 58-year-old set the men’s 100m world-record at the 1991 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Tokyo, completing the race in 9.86secs.
Burrell then beat this time three years later in Lausanne, running 9.85.
Lewis’s nine Olympic gold medals include the 100m and long jump at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, having also won the long jump at Barcelona 1992.
He topped the 4x100m podium in Barcelona alongside Burrell after triumphing in the same event in 1984.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.