Lewis surprised at Romney's critical comments

LONDON Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:57am EDT

Carl Lewis (C), nine-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), arrives at a school in Port-au-Prince June 13, 2011. REUTERS/Swoan Parker

Carl Lewis (C), nine-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), arrives at a school in Port-au-Prince June 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Swoan Parker

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LONDON (Reuters) - Nine-times Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis expressed surprise and disappointment on Tuesday over comments from U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney which appeared to criticize London's handling of the Summer Games.

"It's hard to know just how well it will turn out, there were a few things that were disconcerting," the Republican candidate, who took over as head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics after a series of financial scandals, told NBC last week.

"I was a little surprised and a little disappointed in his comments, especially being someone who hosted an Olympic Games," Lewis told Reuters television.

"I don't really understand him some times, I think the words come out first and he thinks a little bit later.

"It's a wonderful Olympics and every Olympic Games I have been to, all eight of them, there's always been chaos coming up to it, but at the end of the day it always works.

"He (Romney) knows that, he was in the middle of the most chaotic Olympics probably of modern times. And for him to even criticize I thought was just childish.

"It's a wonderful Games and you have done a great job and the performances have been up to it. Even the weather has been nice so I just didn't understand it. I didn't know where he was coming from."

Lewis, widely regarded as the great Olympic athlete ever, attempted to stand as a Democrat for the New Jersey Senate in 2011 but was removed from the ballot due to the state's residency requirements.

The 51-year-old American said he did not think the men's 100 meters final would necessarily be a showdown between Jamaica's defending champion Usain Bolt and his Jamaican team mate and world champion Yohan Blake.

"I have never predicted winners of any race, I have never done it and I'm not going to start. I do think the final outcome will not be the outcome that people think," he said.

"I think it's going to be a little different because there's Bolt, Blake, there's also (Americans) Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin.

"If you really look at it, Justin wants to be the second person to win the second time, the last time Tyson Gay ran against those guys he won. Bolt hasn't won a race in a couple of months.

"The big thing is how I think the Americans will do in this race. I think they will get the most gold medals in the sprints and I think they will get the most medals all round."

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