The Associated PressLIMA (AP) — Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis said Monday female athletes deserve fair and equal pay and criticized U.S. President Donald Trump as a “racist and misogynist.”
Lewis was in Lima, where he will present the 100-meter and long jump medals at the Pan American Games. He said he became an athlete because of his mother, who was in the first Pan Am Games in Buenos Aires in 1951.
“If I didn’t have a strong woman in my life, I wouldn’t be sitting here today,” he said at a press conference with Leroy Burrell, a former world record-holder in the 100 meters. “My mother was a pioneer.”
The U.S. team has long championed equal rights. Players filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and seek pay equitable with that of the men.
“The reality is that there’s a lot of prejudice, and a lot of prejudice is fear,” he said. “We’re afraid to give the same opportunity because it gives us a leg up ... the reality is that it’s no different than another athlete on another team. So, yes, I support that.”
Lewis also criticized Trump and said Americans have a huge challenge.
“There are a lot of issues going on,” he said. “We have a racist president, who is prejudiced, and misogynistic, who doesn’t value anyone outside of himself ... But that doesn’t mean we can’t fight for what is right for people, and look at others where they may have missed an opportunity or may have been marginalized in their lifetime.”