Monday, November 30, 2009

Carl Lewis has a role for London 2012

Lewis has been appointed as the chairman of the Lay Witnesses for Christ International Athletic Executive Committee for the London Olympics and will help organise a programme designed to raise the awareness of Christianity during the Games.

The programme arranged by the Texas-Ministry-based is designed to conduct bible studies and conduct Christian counselling in the Athletes Village during the Olympics for athletes.

The programme has been run since it was launched at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where Lewis equalled Jesse Owens' achievement of winning four gold medals at the same Games, claiming individual titles in the the 100 metres, 200m and long jump and then anchoring the United States 4x100m relay team to victory.

Lewis, who is from Houston, won the long jump at the next three Olympics in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 before retiring from the sport.

Lewis also retained his 100m title in Seoul in controversial circumstances after the first runner across the line, Ben Johnson, was disqualified after testing positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.

He also won a gold medal in the 4x100m at the Barcelona Games and was voted the "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was named "Olympian of the Century" by the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated.

Events planned by the group during London 2012 include Eric Liddell Rallies to celebrate the achievements of the Scottish sprinter who won the 400m at the 1924 Olympics in Paris after he had switch events because his first target - the 100m - was being held on a Sunday and he refused to race on the Sabbath, an achievement immortalised in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

Other events scheduled include music programmes a gala concert, the "Evening of the Olympic Stars", where Olympic stars testify of their faith.

The whole programme is overseen by Mark Tronson, a former hockey journalist who is also an Australian Baptist Minister who consults with host cities about arrangements and has been involved in the scheme since it launched a quarter-of-a-century ago.

Dr. Sam Mings, the President of Lay Witnesses, claimed Lewis is the perfect figurehead for their campaign.

He said: "Literally billions have seen bits and clips and or heard of same regarding Carl's personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

Since retiring Lewis has tried to carve out a new career for himself in Hollywood but has been largely restricted to cameo roles, including in Perfect Strangers and Speed Zone!.