Olympic Champion Carl Lewis Claims He Was Bullied by Chris Christie  

The former track-and-field star said that the New Jersey governor asked him to drop out of the state Senate race in 2011.

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Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis 

Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages

Updated Tues., Jan. 21, 3:35 p.m. EST: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that former Olympian Carl Lewis is just suffering from a bit of "sour grapes" in response to the track star's accusations that Christie pushed him out of the 2011 state Senate race, NBC News reports

Courts ultimately upheld the decision made by Christie's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to exclude Lewis from the race because he did not meet the state's residency requirement. Lewis tells it differently, saying that Christie called him and allegedly said, "I'm going to come after you." 

"Unfortunately, this coming now is obviously a sour-grapes rehash of a clear-cut legal issue which did not fall his way," Christie spokesman Colin Reed said, according to the news site. "Mr. Lewis was disqualified from running on the basis of residency by every court—state and federal—and lost at every level, including all of his appeals."

Earlier:

Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis is joining the many voices slamming New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a bully.

The former track-and-field star is claiming that the often brash Republican tried to deter him from running as a Democratic for state Senate in 2011 against Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego, New York’s Daily News reports.

According to the Daily News, Christie dismissed a plan to appoint Lewis as New Jersey’s first physical fitness ambassador when Lewis announced his plan to campaign against Addiego, a friend of Christie’s. Lewis said that he was told the fitness program would not come to fruition if he ran for the state Senate. As the nine-time Olympic gold medalist put it, Christie felt that the position "was a carrot he could pull away."

"The governor put his people together to get me out of the race," Lewis said.

Ultimately, Lewis withdrew from the race after it was ruled that he did not meet the residency requirement. He now lives in Houston.

Lewis' accusation is just the latest in a string of examples—from "bridge-gate" to the alleged misuse of Superstorm Sandy aid—that Democrats are using to paint the scandal-ridden governor as a bully.

Amid all the controversy, the governor will be sworn in for his second term and is expected to give his inaugural address on Tuesday. The address will be centered on income equity and state unity, with no hint of the scandals he is currently battling—although he will emphasize his willingness to listen to the people in his address.

According to ABC News, this will be a part of his speech: "We will fight to continue to change government so that we value our differences and honor the strength of our diversity. We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C. The attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word.

"As we saw in December regarding the DREAM Act, we can put the future of our state ahead of the partisans who would rather demonize than compromise. As your governor, I will always be willing to listen, as long as that listening ends in decisive action for the people counting on us."

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