Return to Transcripts main page


London Olympic Chair Speaks; Chinese Defends Teen Swimmer; Pride of America

Aired August 1, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, cheats, champions and China. I'll ask Olympics' chief, Sebastian Coe, about his booted badminton players, 16-year-old Chinese swimmer who's got the whole world debating.


SEBASTIAN COE, CHAIRMAN, LONDON 2012: I felt actually sorry for this girl.


MORGAN: And whether he thinks if Michael Phelps is the greatest of all time?

Plus, the winner circle. America's Olympic legend, Greg Louganis, Michael Johnson and Carl Lewis.


CARL LEWIS, 9-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: You can't top Los Angeles the first gold medal.


MORGAN: On the games, the glory, the candid revelations.


GREG LOUGANIS, OLYMPIC DIVING GOLD MEDALIST: Honestly, I didn't think that I'd see 30.


MORGAN: This is a gold medal edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening from London where the 2012 Olympics have been rocked by a huge scandal tonight. Eight players from three countries disqualified after trying to lose their matches. An extraordinary move and one that's shocking everybody here. At the same time the controversy is mounting over Ye Shiwen, the teen ace swimmer from China smashing records and raising eyebrows. Some accusing her of doping. A charge that Chinese officials (INAUDIBLE) they're not only wrong but racist. And joining me tonight for tonight's big story is London Olympics chief, Lord Coe, or Sebastian Coe. As American viewers know.

I know you as Lord Coe.

COE: Thank you.

MORGAN: It's the right way to address you.

COE: You can call me sir.


MORGAN: You must be feeling like -- I don't know, the most excited, relieved man in the world right now? It's all gone so smoothly.

COE: I was excited before it started. I'm now into that sort of, it's got to work.


COE: Very, very grateful to -- well, hundreds of thousands of Brits who have helped us get this far. And what I never failed to be proud about is that, you know, you know what this area was like. You know, you know where we're doing this interview. This was -- you know, this was desolate.


COE: And we've now got a thriving community and sport -- sport is -- you know, sport kicked it all off.

MORGAN: Yes. We got pride back in the country, true, which is great. Some big stories developing today. One I'm very interested to get your take on, which is the badminton --

COE: Yes.

MORGAN: -- farce. I heard you before they got eliminated saying this is completely unacceptable. What I was pleased about was the Chinese reaction, pretty swift to condemn it, and say this isn't part of the Olympic spirit.

COE: Yes. It was a good reaction, it was the right reaction. And of course it's -- in fairness, of course, it's from a country that's already staged an Olympic games. So maybe that -- you know, once you've, once you've staged the games, your whole history changes. Your city changes, you look at the world in a different way. And I was really -- like you, I was really pleased with the swift response that it was unacceptable.

MORGAN: It was one of the worst things I have ever watched.

COE: Well, the sadness of it was, I was in that venue yesterday afternoon, watching three really nail-biting competitive matches. It was only when I got out of the venue and sort of driving on to my next -- the next job that somebody told me that what -- and it was -- yes, it was depressing.

MORGAN: If you had been there when it was happening and you saw team after team doing the same thing, do you have any power to actually do something?

COE: No, not as a --

MORGAN: In the moment.

COE: Not as an organizing committee. That power is vested entirely within the international federation. The international federation hit it hard this morning. They got rid of the eight players. And I think the International Olympic Committee would have -- were watching or would have watched very closely the international federation made exactly the right call on it.

MORGAN: One of the Olympic stories, Ye Shiwen, the young Chinese super swimmer.

COE: Yes.

MORGAN: Yes, a lot of -- a lot of divided opinion, raised eyebrows immediately because of China's record. Interesting what you said there about China having now staged the Beijing Olympics, maybe changed their own thinking about these things. The credibility factor being much more important.

COE: Look, I'm always (INAUDIBLE) to suddenly look askance and suspiciously as an extraordinary performance in sports. You know, as a teenager, I took four seconds off my 100-meter time in one race. What people tend to forget, of course, even at the age of 19, I'd been doing that for the best part of seven or eight years. So, you know, we tend to -- you know, the sadness of it is, of course, in a way we're almost, you know, visiting the sins of the parents on the children.

I think that in terms of the global approach to drugs in sport, we're in a much more grown-up world. People are prepared to talk about it. There's no -- you know, there's no ambiguity about what the rules are. And I felt actually sorry for this girl because that was an extraordinary performance. It's not unusual for teenagers to perform at an extraordinarily high level.

MORGAN: On the subject of drugs generally, do you feel comfortable that somebody like Duane Chambers is going to be running for Team G.B., given that he was a drugs offender? What is your view about that?

COE: Yes, I'm on reconstructed on the subject. You know, my first contribution was -- to this debate was back in 1981 at the IOC's Congress in Germany. I was the first athlete to actually speak. And I had four minutes to talk. I spoke 2 1/2 minutes about the real problems of drugs in sport. I won't ever change my view on that.

The difficulty, of course, is that, you know, these athletes are eligible to come back to the sport after a two-year ban.

MORGAN: Should they be?

COE: Personally, no. But do I think a two-year ban is not long enough? Yes. I don't. We made a mistake of moving from four to two years. We should have left it at four years. And actually this discussion would have been academic because if you have a four-year ban, by implication, you miss the games.

MORGAN: But what -- I kind of think the only way you'll really eradicate it is to be incredibly draconian, to say, if you get caught, you're ban for life from the Olympics.

COE: Yes.

MORGAN: Wouldn't that -- wouldn't that a one-hit, do more effective work with this than what's going on at the moment?

COE: Yes, you're right. But of course, the problem you then have are the legion of lawyers that will fight it on all sorts of grounds. And that's why the International Federations, the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency have settled on a ban that gives nominally those competitors a second chance so that you don't close the door if they're prepared to come back and be clean and maybe go out into the sporting community and talk to kids about the dangers of sport.

They only tend to do that after they've been caught of course. But now the reality of it is that you're then tied up into legalese. And I don't think a lifetime ban would stick.

MORGAN: Let's turn to Michael Phelps. He smashed the record last night, dramatic style as the biggest medal winner in the history of the Olympic Games, sparking the obvious debate.

COE: Yes.

MORGAN: Is he the greatest Olympian ever? Is he?

COE: Well, you know, the lovely thing about the games in the U.K. is we've had the big -- you know, we've had the national pop (ph) game. Is David Beckham going to be on the team? Who's going to light the flame? You know, the usual things that have been the stuff of the tap room most nights of the week. We've now got the global pop game which is, is he the greatest?

MORGAN: Who do you think is?

COE: Well, you have to say that winning 19 medals or whatever he managed last night makes him certainly the most successful and prolific medal winner. Is he the greatest? I'm not sure he is.

MORGAN: Well, I've got Carl Lewis coming in tonight and he's somebody who won nine golds.

COE: Yes. MORGAN: But in a variety of different disciplines. Many are saying that is more difficult in the athletics track and field than the swimming. Would you go along with that?

COE: Well, yes, I'm from track and field. I would say that statistically it's tougher to win a medal in track and field than almost any other sport because there are 240 sports competing at it and not -- you know, it is a true -- it's one of the few truly global sports. That's not to decry swimming. It's one of the real -- the real tough sport.

MORGAN: But if I was to pin you down and say, right, Lord Coe, you could have one name of one Olympian that you personally would want to see again? Who would it be?

COE: Well, modesty probably prohibits me.


COE: I don't know. I -- for all sorts of reasons and given what he did and where he did it and the extraordinary athletic talent, I would probably -- if you really pin me, I would say Jesse Owens.

MORGAN: Would you?

COE: Yes.

MORGAN: Yes, that's a good call.

COE: Jesse Owens.

MORGAN: Very good call.

COE: 1936. Yes.

MORGAN: I will -- I will make my first comments to Carl Lewis. Lord Coe says Jesse Owens is better than you.

COE: Maybe Jesse Owens --


COE: Maybe Carl Lewis wouldn't disagree with that because I know that --

MORGAN: He might not.

COE: -- Carl had a massive regard for Jesse.

MORGAN: That'd be great. And one final thing, the opening ceremony, I was a bit surprised with Steve Ovett, your great rival, wasn't invited.

COE: He was.

MORGAN: He wrote a piece saying he hadn't been invited. (LAUGHTER)

COE: He was. And we were actually trying to get him to run in the torch relay. The problem is he didn't actually arrive in London until literally --

MORGAN: So he was invited.

COE: Yes, all our Olympic medalists were invited to take part in the --

MORGAN: So it wasn't payback for --

COE: No, all our Olympic medalist --


MORGAN: For snuffing you out that time?

COE: No. All our Olympic medalists, as I think about 180 of them, that gathered on the infield to be celebrated just before the cauldron was lit, were invited. So I know Steve was invited.

MORGAN: Well, I'm glad we put that one to bed. It's been a fantastic success, Lord Coe. On behalf of everyone in Britain we are very proud of what you've achieved with the Olympics. And thank you because you've really put us back on the global map in a great way.

COE: Well, thank you. I'm very proud of what all my fellow countrymen have achieved alongside us.

MORGAN: Well, it takes leadership, and you showed in space. Thank you very much.

COE: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: The whole world is talking about the 16-year-old Chinese swimmer. But what is the reaction in her own country?

With me from Beijing is CNN correspondent Jaime Florcruz.

Jaime, what is the reaction on the ground in China to what is going on here? Is there a feeling that if she was an American or a British swimmer, we wouldn't even be debating it?

JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF AND CORRESPONDENT: Surely. Well, the Chinese are cheering and celebrating Ye Shiwen's success. In fact in the Wednesday edition of the -- Chinese language "Beijing Times" they have her on the cover, on the front page and the headline reads 'Ye Shiwen is clean." And they say that she had passed the strict drug test of the IOC in London.

So yes, the Chinese feel that they are being unfairly singled out. They feel that if had it been like a -- you know, a Michael Phelps or another swimming sensation, yes, we wouldn't be talking about it. It would have been fabulous news and yet in this case, it's cheating.

MORGAN: I mean I think I was encouraged, and I said this to other guests tonight, by the reaction of the Chinese over here in London to the other scandal involving the badminton teams, one of whom was the China team, where they deliberately lost to avoid meeting some of their rivals in later stages. The Chinese were very quick to come down on this thing. It wasn't in the Olympic spirit and endorsing the decision to suspend and throw them out of the games.

How has that gone down in China? And is it being seen as a sign that China really has changed? That they are now prepared to play by the rules of the Olympic Games?

FLORCRUZ: Yes, it is one of the top trending topics, especially in the micro blogging sites here. And indeed, most of the people who were posting were supportive of China's quick response. They think that that is in the spirit of the Olympics of fair play. But there are some who also are conflicted and who think that the Chinese athletes are not to blame, the Chinese coaches are not to blame, nor the other athletes of the other teams.

They say that it is the system of this group system that forces these people to play this tactic. So it's a question of whether it's good tactics or cheating. But overall, I think the Chinese here are saying that the first gold is not the most important, it's not the ultimate thing, that participation is more important. And that fair play in this case is just as important.

MORGAN: Yes. And they're quite right because it's not tactics. It's just plain cheating. When you play to lose to avoid a stronger opponent, it is cheating.

Anyway, Jaime Florcruz, thank you very much for joining me. I appreciate it.

Coming next, Olympic legend Greg Louganis on why the gold-winning diver stayed away from the game for 16 years.


MORGAN: A perfect way to make a splash. A master dive for the master himself, Greg Louganis. The Olympic athlete has a story quite like the four-time gold medal winner story. And Greg joins me now.

Welcome. So nice to meet you.

LOUGANIS: It's great meeting you.

MORGAN: And you haven't been to one of the Summer Olympics for 16 years. Why is that?

LOUGANIS: I know. I mean -- well, I wasn't invited. I was kind of thinking, you know, because it would -- my name is Greek. And I was raised Greek. So I figured, you know, Athens would be it, but I forgot that that was the year that I lost my mom. So I was a little preoccupied I think. MORGAN: Let's turn to the swimming.


MORGAN: It's been an extraordinary, exhilarating week in the pool. Everyone has seen Michael Phelps maybe on the rampage again.


MORGAN: He hasn't been, but he has broken the all-time medal winning record. Ryan Lochte, obviously emerging, but again, a third character, everyone expected, the Frenchman.

What do you make of it? How exciting has it's been for you?

LOUGANIS: Well, I -- I love to see, you know, incredible performances. You know, and that's what you get at the Olympic Games. Everyone knows who the top athletes are. You know who your competition is. You know? It's whoever puts it together on that day.

MORGAN: When you go back to your extraordinary story. It's an extraordinary story. This great secret that you kept, the drama of when you smashed your head. I remember it vividly. What do you make of where you've got to now. Are you in a good place now? Have you come through all the traumas and dramas of what went on?

LOUGANIS: Yes. Definitely. I mean, because back in 1988 when I was diagnosed with HIV, we thought of HIV as a death sentence. So my doctor, and who was also my cousin, he was treating me and he said, the best thing you can do is continue training. And so it's much more positive to focus on the diving. So that's what I did. And it was really a blessing. But honestly, I didn't think I'd see 30. You know, because that's --

MORGAN: I've been -- well, I've interviewed Magic Johnson and now you. Both of whom have had HIV for 20 years. I mean --


MORGAN: The mere fact that both of you look so fit, and healthy and well, and happy is all you need to see, isn't it?


MORGAN: I mean, there's been such a radical change now in public opinion about HIV, precisely because of people like you and Magic.

LOUGANIS: Well, it's a double edged sword, you know, because bow young kids are seeing us, and they're saying, well, they 're alive, thriving and all that. But I wouldn't wish my drug regiment on anyone.

MORGAN: Right.

LOUGANIS: I mean the things that I've been through, you know, are pretty devastating. MORGAN: Even now, do you still have to take a huge amount of pills a day?

LOUGANIS: It's not quite as many. They've combined a lot of the medications. You know, for the cocktails and all. So I take my meds in the morning and the evening and go about the business of living. You know, but, you know, when you're Magic Johnson, you have your own chef, nutritionist.

MORGAN: I get it.

LOUGANIS: You have all these people looking after you. And I don't have that.


LOUGANIS: I'm working on it. No. But you know it's challenging. It's challenging. You know, making sure that you're taking care of yourself.

The one thing that I have noticed with long-term survivors is they do stay active. You know, they go to the gym, they live active lifestyles. You know, and I think that that's the one thing that kind of helps us metabolize the medications and tolerate the medications.

MORGAN: What do you make of this whole Chic-fil-A furry. Because apparently Mike Huckabee has come out today.


MORGAN: Ordering Christians to go and eat at Chic-fil-A to make a statement after the boss obviously came out with these comments about gay marriage.


MORGAN: And conversely, the same-sex marriage lobby group are ordering every gay person in the world to converge on Chic-fil-A on Friday.


MORGAN: Is it all getting a bit silly? Do you have a view? Were you angered when the Chic-fil-A boss said what he said?

LOUGANIS: Well, you know, I'm not real political, you know, but I know what's right. You know, what's right for me. And, you know, equal rights for everybody. The Chic-fil-A -- who eats that stuff?


LOUGANIS: You know? Really. I mean, who eats that stuff. I mean, you know, I kind of like my arteries. You know? I like the blood flowing.

MORGAN: You shouldn't be going to Chic-fill-A just on health grounds. Never mind the views about same-sex marriage, right?

LOUGANIS: Yes. Exactly. Exactly.


MORGAN: Let's turn to the Chinese wonder swimmer. I'm asking everybody about this because she's been one of the big stories of the games. And the whole issue of China, of drugs, of cheating. We saw the badminton thing. Where are you on all of this?

LOUGANIS: You know, I am so thankful that I was in a sport that we didn't have that really as an issue. You know, you don't want a 200, 300-pound diver.


LOUGANIS: You know? So, you know, fortunately I didn't have those issues. It's sad that that's an issue, you know? That it becomes about the science rather than the performance and the individual.

MORGAN: What was the greatest -- we know the worst dive you ever did because it's the most famous dive in history. But what was the greatest dive of your life? When you look back.

LOUGANIS: You know what? The greatest dive that I ever did in my entire life was the dive after that dive.

MORGAN: Right.

LOUGANIS: Because -- I mean I wrote about it, I wrote a blog. The toughest sissy in the world. You know, in that moment in the time, I became the toughest sissy in the world. And I thanked all the people who bullied me and who, you know, were really hard at me. Beat me up at the bus stop, took my lunch money, you know, because if it weren't for those experiences, I wouldn't have been as tough as I was to be able to get through that.

MORGAN: When you went back and dived again and you came back up, and your head bounced up through the water, what was going through your mind?

LOUGANIS: You know --

MORGAN: The first thing you thought?

LOUGANIS: Well, going through something like that, OK, I hit my head on the board. You know your confidence is totally shattered, you know? I'm supposed to be a pretty good diver. You're not supposed to do stuff like that. So when my confidence was shattered and I turned to my coach and we decided to continue, he knew that my confidence was gone.

And he said OK, if you don't believe in yourself, believe in me because I believe in you. And then we'll get through this together. And I mean that's what we did. I mean you don't achievement greatness on your own. There's always somebody there, whether it be a coach. My mom was always there. She was kind of a mainstay, my rock. You know, whenever I was in a tough situation I'd always say to myself, no matter what happens my mother is still going to love me. Even if I did a bomb of a dive.


LOUGANIS: She's be saying, oh, that was a pretty splash. You know?

MORGAN: Greg, it's been a real pleasure to see you.

LOUGANIS: Great seeing you.

MORGAN: I'm glad you're in the games. It wouldn't be the same without you.

LOUGANIS: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: Good to see you.


MORGAN: Greg Louganis.

Coming next, from one Olympic champion to another great legend. I'll talk to the one and only Carl Lewis.


COSTELLO: Carl Lewis is considered one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time. The winner of 10 track and field medals, nine of them gold. No surprise the "Sports Illustrated" called him the "Olympian of the Century" and Carl joins me now.


LEWIS: Great. Thank you.

MORGAN: This is a big moment for me because I -- when you were doing your stuff, I was watching every second of it. Along with Michael Johnson who's on tonight. It was my era. And you were just one of the most extraordinarily athletic characters I've ever seen.

LEWIS: Great. Thank you.

MORGAN: Now that's a good way to start the interview, it puts you in the right mood.

LEWIS: Well, we can end it right now. I'd like that.


MORGAN: But it wasn't just me because after your amazing gold medal run, the IOC called you the sportsman of the century as well in 1999. And that has prompted this debate, that's gone today, post Michael Phelps, who is the greatest Olympian? And I asked Lord Coe earlier, he knew that you were coming on, and he said if you really pushed him, he would go for Jesse Owens. And he said you might be surprised, Carl might say the same thing.

LEWIS: Yes --

MORGAN: Who would be first choice?

LEWIS: Well, I look at it differently. I mean I think people run against who they run against. And we're so often and so quick to say here's the greatest one of all time instead of allowing them to define their generation. Michael is defining this generation in a way that no one has ever done before. And you know I wouldn't say anything. The person that affected me the most, Olympian, was without question Jesse Owens.


LEWIS: No doubt about it. But I think that we should focus more on who defines the generation and who casts the memories of their time.

MORGAN: The London games have been going pretty well so far. But we've got your kind of stuff to come (INAUDIBLE), track and field. Usain Bolt, obviously, is the big talking point. You and him, picking your powers, who would win?


LEWIS: You know, that's a question people ask me quite a bit. And I say, look, I ran against people in my time. And one thing that they've been doing all week is saying what do you think about the race, what do you think you can do? I refuse to inject myself into their race. Because it's their time, I'm retired. And I always end it with, look, I ran against people and beat the people in my generation. Jesse did it, everyone did it.

Do you think that Bob Hayes or Jesse Owens wouldn't be right at the top of the thing right now? Let's let them define their era.

MORGAN: Did you ever in your era come up against anybody who you thought you possibly couldn't beat?

LEWIS: I looked at it in a different way. I was always competing against perfection. And when you're around from 1980 to '96, I had layers of people. And there are people that came , when Ben came in and he was on -- I knew he was on drugs, I said this is going to be tough. Or Leroy Burrell, when Leroy was later, and he was younger than I was, and I was 30, and I said oh my god, this is going to be tough, too.

So there were times when I said it was going to be a big challenge. But I want it to be at a point when I thought hey, it's over, I can't beat people anymore, it's time to move on. And that's where I put myself. MORGAN: When you talk about Ben Johnson now, I remember that race vividly. I remember turning to somebody else saying, there's no way Ben Johnson could beat Carl Lewis by that margin. Something is not right. And very quickly, we knew what it was. Drugs in sport has been a curse now for a very long time, so much so that a young Chinese swimmer can't do a great performance without everybody immediately assuming she must be on drugs. You have faced allegations in the past, never proven. What is your view about the whole drug issue? Where have we got to? Are we better off today than we were when Ben Johnson got caught?

LEWIS: What's sad about it is that it's never going to end. I tell people all the time, I say look, Bernie Madoff is in jail because he stole money. So that's just the nature of our society.

What I'm really excited right now is this passport program, where they're keeping your samples for future. That's scaring people, now all of a sudden you have to be accountable for years afterward. I really think that's the most innovative idea they've had in order to try to stop the drug problem. .

MORGAN: But when you see like a British athlete, Duane Chambers, a sprinter, two-year ban, back he comes representing his country again at the Olympics -- to me, it jars with me. Nothing against him personally. I don't want to see the cheats back so soon. If it was up to me, and Lord Coe said the same thing, pretty well banned for life. Make sure they couldn't compete at the Olympics again. Make the punishment so severe that it deters them.

LEWIS: I agree with you. I think it should be at least four years because you at least miss an Olympic cycle. And if it was up to me, I would make it indefinite, just like anyone. Why did you get on it? How did you get on it? Who helped you? No one can get on drugs and have a program by themselves. It's always a conspiracy.

So -- but the problem is we get to an athlete and we don't get to the root of the problem.

MORGAN: Of all the great moments you've had, what was the best for you?

LEWIS: Oh my goodness, you can't top --


LEWIS: You can't top Los Angeles, the first gold medal. And I had this vision --


LEWIS: Well, because it was the first one, you know. And I crossed the line and I remember taking a lap and I had the American flag. I was in my home country. And I looked up in the stands and my parents were standing there. There's nothing that will top that.

Then one -- I think the one that gave me the most fulfillment was the last one, at 35, knowing I'm not coming back and I did it again, and I'm happy to end my career at this stage.

MORGAN: Do you think Michael Phelps probably knew he wouldn't win seven more golds, that he had in his mind, if I get the three medals, I'll be the all-time record holder, and I can come and be a part of the Olympics again. Is there anything quite like the Olympics?

LEWIS: The Olympics are unique. I think Michael came in here saying I'm winning all of it, because you can't come in saying maybe this. Sports is not like a light switch. You have to have it on all the time. You can't turn it on in the middle. So I think he came in wanting to win them all.

That's why you saw the frustration on him getting that silver. When he got that silver before the gold last night, I saw him saying, you've got to be kidding me. I did everything I was supposed to do. He's a great champion. I think it'll take a time for him to decompress and then he'll have a chance to enjoy the Olympics in the future.

MORGAN: He Tweeted earlier today that the president, Barack Obama, called him to congratulate him personally. Did you ever have that in your time?

LEWIS: No, I didn't. I didn't have that. No, they didn't call me. It's President Reagan when I won in L.A., And the times were different. And what's so great is that we've evolved to this time where that is acceptable. In our die, we did not have the social media and everything where we could actually communication in the way that they do now. I think it's wonderful we can do that..

MORGAN: When you were competing at your very best for America and Ronald Reagan was president, did you ever imagine in your lifetime that you would have an African-American president?

LEWIS: No, I didn't. I can say that because my parents were good friends with Dr. King. My mother knew Rosa Parks very well. We were involved in that whole environment. I didn't think so.

MORGAN: Do you think that America is more or less racist since Barack Obama became president? Did it open a can of warms of a lot more racism, do you think? Is it easier or harder to be a black man or woman in America these days?

LEWIS: I don't think we became more racist, but I think people woke up the next day and said wait, wait, what happened; let's go back to the old times. So they're showing it again in ways that we did not see five years ago. It's amazing the discussion that we have about our president, the demeaning characters they have about someone who's the perfect American dream. Went here, came up from modest means, grew up, went to college, finished, was a leader, has a beautiful wife, wonderful children and is a leader.

That's a perfect American dream. .

MORGAN: Finally, all of these American athletes competing here for America, for their country, you've been in their shoes. What does it mean A, to compete for your country, for America, and B, to win?

LEWIS: To win is something that's unimaginable. And people ask me, they say when you're athlete of the century, what's it like? You can't even talk about that. How do you know what that is? How do you feel it? It's just something that I delivered for America, the title of the best Olympian of all this time. I go back to and break it down easy for the relay. Let's say, when we were in the relay, you know, I'll run it all the time in my time. And we pass the baton, we win the race, we cheer.

But when we're in the Olympics, we're carrying America's baton. It's just a whole other level.

MORGAN: Pressure like you can't imagine, right? You sympathize with them?

LEWIS: I do. But I love it. And they love it too.

MORGAN: Carl, it's been a real pleasure.

LEWIS: Great, thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up, I talk to one of the few people who could contest the fastest man on Earth claim, Michael Johnson.


MORGAN: As a sprinter, four-time medal winner, Michael Johnson was billed as the fastest man on Earth. He shattered world records, racing to the Olympic record books. Michael is here now. Welcome.

My first, obvious question to you, where are the golden Nikes? I loved those boots.

MICHAEL JOHNSON, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER: Everybody loved them. The problem is they became more famous than me. That was the only problem. That was the only mistake. There was a different pair for every race. So I had eight races during '96, eight races during 2000. I kept the ones that I wore in the finals. And there was a different pair for each race. My coach has the left one and I have the right one from each one of those races.

All of the other ones we auctioned off for charity and raised a ton of money for some good causes.

MORGAN: I bet you did. I used to try to run like you. You were one of my heroes. I used to get the piston action, but not the speed.

JOHNSON: That's the hardest part, actually, the piston action, because it came naturally for me. Most people think that it's something that I tried to do.

MORGAN: I wondered that. It was a natural thing?

JOHNSON: It was the way that I always ran since I was a kid. All the other kids made fun of me and said I ran funny. I said well, you run slow. So -- but what happened was I did get a lot of criticism for the style early on in my professional career. My coach and I had a lot of studies done. And we found that I actually -- at the end of the day, that it was actually much more efficient.

So then we started to do things and incorporate things into the training program to enhance that style.

MORGAN: We've got the big sprinting to come. Usain Bolt, another hero of mine, the chicken nugget eating, arrow firing, charismatic Jamaican. Are you a fan of his style?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm a fan of his speed, that's for sure. His style is not that great actually, which is amazing. Because biomechanically, he's not as good as some of the other guys, like his countryman Asafa Powell, or the American record holder, Tyson Gay, which are very efficient, very good sprinters technically.

Bolt's is not as good as they are technically, which is just amazing, because if he were, just imagine what he could run. He could run faster than his 9.58.

MORGAN: Do you think he's like a thoroughbred racehorse? He's been saving himself for the big one?

JOHNSON: I think he's had some trouble this year. He's has some injuries that have bothered him. People are saying he's going to lose it, it's going to be his countryman, Johan Blake (ph). Look , you got to remember, he ran 9.58 to win the world championships. That's his world record. So he's almost two tenths of a second faster than anyone else in the field. So he doesn't have to be at 100 percent.

He's had a month since his last race. So I think he'll be fine.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the raging controversies, most of them involving China at the moment. This young 16-year-old swimmer, Ye Shiwen, you've been Tweeting about this. You feel quite strongly that she should be innocent until proven guilty and we should celebrate her talent for what it is.

JOHNSON: Anyone should. Look, we have to understand that that's where we are with sport now. That's the damage done to sport when people cheat. It then makes everyone not believe what they see. That's unfortunate, but that's where we are and we have to understand that.

It's unfortunate for her that she has turned in these incredible performances. Instead of being asked about how great she feels about it, she's being asked basically whether or not she cheated to get there. And that's unfortunate.

Look, China has invested a massive amount of money into sports. I mean, my own -- Michael Johnson Performance, my sports performance company, they're one of our biggest clients. They are searching around the world for people to help them develop their talent. They have 1.2 billion people there. Talent is there. So they're doing a great job in developing their sports and their athletes. But as far as she's concerned, she's probably just one of them. The only thing we can do is, you know, trust in the system. The system tests the athletes. They're turning it around here in 24 hours. She hasn't been found to be positive.


JOHNSON: So it's a negative test then. And you know, it's incredible performance. No doubt about it. But Bolt has had incredible performances. Phelps has had incredible performances. I have. What's too incredible. Are you going to say she's too incredible. Where do you draw that line? You can't.

MORGAN: I was encouraged, I thought, by China's reaction today to the badminton furor, where they've all been slung out for deliberately losing. It's one of the worst things I've ever seen in the Olympics, shameful behavior. And I blame the coach mainly, but then you have to blame the athletes for doing it.

China has been quick to say no, the coach was wrong; we agree with this decision. I thought that was terrific. That was a real sea change in attitude from the Chinese.

JOHNSON: I agree. I think they did the right thing. The Badminton Federation is going to have to come in and change their rules. Because when you have sport, people are going to do whatever they can.


JOHNSON: You can't rely on the athletes to govern themselves.

MORGAN: Then they shouldn't b be in the Olympic games. If you can't have a group system because too many people will cheat, it's disgusting.

JOHNSON: But it's just like society. You have to have rules in society because people will try to cheat. They're going to do it.

MORGAN: I say send them home and ban them for life. That will stop the others.

JOHNSON: Maybe you should be the IOC chair.

MORGAN: I would be ruthless. I would send them home, ban them for life.

JOHNSON: You've got a point. People are disappointed. People were booing them in the crowds,.because they're disappointed. They come here, you want to see the best athletes at their best. And that's by and large what you do get at the Olympics and what makes the Olympics so great.

MORGAN: The one bone I've got to pick with you, Oscar Pistorius, the South African, who runs on these sort of blade runner prosthetics, you're not a fan of this. You think he gives --

JOHNSON: He's a friend of mine.

MORGAN: Right. You think it gives him an advantage?

JOHNSON: I think it does give him an advantage. But you have to listen to the scientists. Many scientists say they feel like it gives him an advantage. Some scientists say they don't know. So let's take Oscar out of it, because that's what I have to do, because Oscar's a friend of mine. In order to be totally objective about the situation, which is all about, at the end of the day -- it's not about Oscar. It's about fair competition.

When you're talking about fair competition, you have to take personalities and people out of it, and just look at the rules. If an athlete gets an advantage over another athlete, it's unfair. It's difficult for anyone to understand this when you're talking about Oscar, who's such a hero and such an inspiration to so many people.

I am a fan of Oscar's and I consider Oscar a friend. So since he's here and he's going to be running in that stadium in the next few days, I'm going to be out there cheering for him, hoping that he gets all the way through to the finals. It's unfortunate that he's not running as fast this year as he did last year, because otherwise I think he could be.

MORGAN: I think a guy who can run with the best of them with prosthetic legs --

JOHNSON: What if his prosthetic legs give him an advantage over the other guys? Do you still want him to run?

MORGAN: I think he probably has earned that advantage, hasn't he?

JOHNSON: You can't do that, though. The reason why you're saying that is because well, you feel like he's probably not going to get a medal. So go ahead and let him run.

MORGAN: Do you think he might?

JOHNSON: No, he's not. No, he's not going to get a medal.

MORGAN: Wouldn't it be an amazing moment for the Olympics?

JOHNSON: It will be.


JOHNSON: But the things is, then when you get an athlete who's faster, you're going to say, we know we let Oscar run, but we're not going to let you run because you're too fast.

MORGAN: It's an ethical dilemma. Where are you looking for big American achievement before the end of the games? JOHNSON: The sprints are typically where we have always dominated. The Jamaicans have killed us the last Olympics in the sprints and the last two championships. But on the women's side, I believe that we're going to have some great performances. I think that Allyson Felix will run fantastic in the 200. I think she could win it finally, after being silver medallists the last two times.

I think Sonia Richards will win the 400 meters for us. I think that it's going to be a real battle in the 100 meters with Carmalita Jetta (ph), the 100 meter world champion, American, again, Shelly Anne Frasier (ph), the defending Olympic gold medalist. But Ashton Eaton, decathlete, who is now the world record holder, I expect him to win here.

We've got two great decathletes. So can do well there. I think we'll still finish, the U.S., at the top of the medal table, as we always have, but it's going to be a little tougher.

MORGAN: Michael, it's been a pleasure to meet you.

JOHNSON: Appreciate it.

MORGAN: You still running?

JOHNSON: I wouldn't call it running.

MORGAN: You're down to my level, eh? Michael Johnson.

Coming up, legendary Olympic gymnast Olga Korbut and the sport that she revolutionized.


MORGAN: Welcome back to London. Gold medal gymnast Olga Korbut set the standard for her sport. She is considered the mother of gymnastics. Welcome. Do you like being called the mother of gymnastics?


MORGAN: You were like the darling of those Olympics. I remember. I was only seven, but I have a vivid, vivid memory of you falling, everyone heart broken, and up you came again and you won all these gold's. Everyone loved Olga Korbut. How do you feel about that?

KORBUT: I feel good.

MORGAN: When you walk around here, do you get a good reaction when people realize it's you?

KORBUT: Yeah. I don't know why they shaking when they see me. I been in stadium yesterday when women team -- and I wanted to jump from my chair and go to the -- and do some -- some routine.

MORGAN: Did you really? KORBUT: Yeah.

MORGAN: It all brought it back to you?

KORBUT: I felt like I was 17 again. This atmosphere, this is public clapping, this is brought me all my memories back.

MORGAN: When you see the American gymnasts, the young girls, they are amazing. I've interviewed them. They're all starry eyes. They're into the magic, looking forward to these amazing and exciting games, and the life afterwards. What's the reality? When, as you did, you become hugely famous almost overnight, from one Olympic games, what was your life like after that? Was it all easy?

KORBUT: No. It's not easy. First of all when you finish, you don't know where you going. You don't prepare. But I quit gymnastic and go -- I did horse riding.

MORGAN: Really? You just gave it all up and went and road horses.

KORBUT: Yeah, two years.

MORGAN: And then you moved -- 20 years ago, you moved to America, to Arizona. And you did that because of the Chernobyl disaster. Tell me about that.

KORBUT: Yeah. I travel a lot, back and forth, back and forth. And I had a small son and he needs mother. And I get him here. I put to the Russian family and I travel. I didn't see him. And I found a job and this is how it is. I didn't mean to move, but I fell in love with people and I left.

MORGAN: Finally Olga, of all the great moments you had, what was the greatest for you personally?

KORBUT: Great moment?

MORGAN: What's the one, if I could relive it for you now, which one would you choose?

KORBUT: I don't know.

MORGAN: The first gold? Is that always the best?

KORBUT: Oh, no. I never, by the way, competed for the gold or silver. I competed for public. Maybe why they fell in love with me. I always smile from heart. I give them piece of mine.

MORGAN: You did. I remember that smile. It hasn't changed.

KORBUT: Thank you.

MORGAN: It's been lovely to meet you.

KORBUT: Thank you very much. MORGAN: Enjoy the rest of the games.

We'll be right back from London.


MORGAN: Finally tonight, only the Olympics, meet the guy who is literally stealing the show here in London, if you're British. Bradley Wiggins looks like the ultimate hipster. All that's missing is an ironic T-shirt, maybe a Brooklyn bound Schwynn bike. He does like his bikes. He's a cyclist for Team Great Britain. And this week, he won gold medal at the games, making it seven medals in total, making him our Michael Phelps, the greatest single medal winner in British Olympic history.

He also just won the Tour de France, the first Brit to ever do that too. But surely Bradley Wiggins, or Wiggo as we call him, has saved his greatest achievement for last, which is that he single handedly have brought back an extraordinary phenomenon from the '70s, the side burn. Wiggo, I salute you.

That's all for us tonight. Back in New York, Anderson Cooper starts now.