Five questions: Carl Lewis

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis will be in Atlanta on April 18 for the Run for Water, a worldwide 6-kilometer race to raise awareness of global water scarcity. The run will take place in downtown Atlanta. Lewis, 48, has his own foundation promoting fitness, and he started

Q: How did you get involved in the issue of water scarcity?

A: I've always been someone who cared about and loved the environment. It was really kind of a perfect match. When I heard about the event, it was something that fits. ... I've been around the world several times. I can understand the issue of water scarcity. I've always disliked plastic water bottles. This fits into my overall thoughts about that and being a vegan and having my foundation focus on health and fitness, this all fits into the message that I'm living.

Q: What are the challenges of being a vegan?

A: Basically, when I'm home, I'm completely a vegan. When I'm out, I eat some things. I don't stress it. If there's a steakhouse around, it's the greatest place for vegetarians. There's always a salad bar, and you can always get a baked potato.

Q: How much do you work out now?

A: I work out in a gym three or four days a week. I'll ride the bike or play games. I'll go out and play tennis or play pickup basketball, things like that outside of my gym workout lifting weights. I don't like the treadmill. I prefer to go out and run.

Q: How much do you keep up with track?

A: I see very little of it. Living here in the States, there's very little on TV. You have to really, really stay focused to try to follow it. I don't know a lot of the events anymore because they're no longer on [TV]. I travel a lot, so it's difficult to keep up with it. I don't remember the last time I saw a meet on TV.

Q: What do you remember about the night you won the long jump at the 1996 Olympics?

A: I do remember clearly the people in the stands were beyond amazing. I remember walking in and they were cheering like the [event] was already over and I'd already won it. ... At the end of it, I did a victory lap and I remember coming around, the people were cheering so loud and they were going crazy and then an official came over to me and said, ‘You have to get off the track because we're starting the 10,000 meters. I was about to get off the track and I was like, ‘Forget this. I'm taking another lap. The 10,000 can wait another 10 minutes.' ... When I got out of the stadium, it was clear to me that was it, and I had no desire to compete at that level again. I knew in my heart it was over, and it was a great feeling to have.

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