Sprint legend Carl Lewis on Thursday waded through the Tyson Gay doping controversy, saying that the reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt has raised a "legitimate" issue but he should "clean up his own country first" before talking about others.
Bolt has launched a blistering attack on his 100m sprint rival Gay, claiming the American should have been kicked out of athletics and not a reduced ban for failing dope tests.
Gay failed three drugs tests in 2013 after using steroid creams but only received a backdated one-year suspension last year. He was given the reduced penalty because he provided evidence to the US Anti-Doping Agency that led to an eight-year ban for his former coach, Jon Drummond.
"He (Bolt) has raised a legitimate issue and I understand that but rules are rules. But see a Jamaican is talking about it. Lots of doping issues have come out in Jamaican athletics in the last 4-5 years. He should first think of cleaning up his own house," Lewis told reporters on the sidelines of the Times of India Sports Awards.
"Doping is not good for sports. I have said that and I have taken a stand on that in 1987 and in 2008. How many people have taken stand on doping?" he questioned.
"If you don't take stands on the issue, please shut up," Lewis said apparently asking whether Bolt had taken stand on other doping issues, including that appeared in Jamaica.
Gay clocked faster times than Bolt last year and will be a serious threat to the Jamaican at the World Championships in Beijing this summer. Lewis said the larger issue is how to educate young athletes.
"I am now coaching a bunch of young athletes at the University of Richmond in US. I want to teach them that taking drugs is not the way to go," he said.
"The larger issue is to educate youngsters that taking drugs is not going to right direction. Moreover, the US did not win a single gold in sprints in 2012 London Olympics. That should be a concern for the country. Who knows the collegiate students under me win an Olympic gold in future," he said.
Lewis said that genetics was an important factor in sprints but a billion people in India should produce an Olympic champion.
"Of course, genes are an important factor but India should have somebody of that gene from among more than one billion people because we are the same species," he said.
"But I reel India is improving. How many medals India won in 1992 Olympics but you are winning six medals in 2012 London. So Indian sport is improving in last 20 years.
"Indian athletes should feel confident that they can compete with the best. I feel it is not about lack of hard work but about lack of confidence for Indian athletes," he said.