US & Canada

Olympian Carl Lewis announces bid for New Jersey Senate

Carl Lewis announcing his candidacy for a New Jersey Senate seat
Image caption Mr Lewis (centre) said he wanted to give back to the southern New Jersey district where he grew up

Nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis has said he will run again, but this time for a Senate seat in the state of New Jersey.

"When I run, as you see from my record, I run to win," Mr Lewis said.

The 49-year-old said he wanted to give back to the southern New Jersey district where he grew up by running for the Senate as a Democrat.

Mr Lewis, a former sprinter and long-jumper, is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time.

He said he was seeking a Senate seat in order to inspire people and improve educational opportunities, particularly in the area of physical education for children.

He also said he hoped to bring civility to the currently bitter US political climate.

"The people are fed up with their elected officials playing the blame game and treating their political counterparts as enemies," he said.

Mr Lewis, who will run in the 8th legislative district now represented by Republican Dawn Addiego, added that he would announce an issue-based platform within the next several days.

It will be the first time Mr Lewis has sought elected office.

On the track, his greatest triumph was the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, where he won gold in the 100 and 200 metres, the long jump and the 4x100-metre relay.

He won two golds at each of the next two Olympic Games, and took his final Olympic title - his fourth straight Olympic gold in the long jump - at the Atlanta Games of 1996.