Carl Lewis: Chris Christie tried to intimidate me during Senate bid

Former Olympian Carl Lewis, left, says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tried to use his power to keep him from running for state Senate in 2011.
(Samuel Kubani / AFP / Getty Images; Mel Evans / Associated Press)

Olympic track and field legend Carl Lewis is the latest person to accuse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of political tactics that some may view as bullying.

The nine-time gold medalist said the Republican governor threatened to cancel a plan to make Lewis the state’s first physical fitness ambassador because of the athlete’s campaign for a seat in the New Jersey Senate as a Democrat.

“I thought it was going just fine,” Lewis said of the fitness program. “And when I started to run, when he talked to me on the phone that night, he said, ‘If you run, we’re going to have to cancel the program.’”

Lewis -- who in 2011 tried to run against Republican incumbent Dawn Addiego, reportedly a friend of Christie’s -- eventually withdrew from the Senate race when a court determined he didn’t meet a residency requirement.


Some people have characterized Christie as a political bully in the midst of recent scandals involving traffic jams and Superstorm Sandy aid. Lewis said he doesn’t feel the governor is a bully, just “someone who’s insecure, and he’s governor now and has got the power.”

“I felt like he was trying to intimidate me, absolutely,” Lewis said. “But I definitely didn’t feel intimidated.”