The nine-time Olympic gold medalist is an actor in L.A. and will appear in the upcoming film Tournament of Dreams.
SI: What do people expect when you come in to audition?
Lewis: They expect me to be terrible, and I understand that. A lot of athletes have been good. A lot have been not so good. Now that I have some good work behind me, people are surprised.
SI: Which athlete turned actor do you want to emulate?
Lewis: Merlin Olsen. He transitioned all the way.
SI: You recently appeared on a Wheaties box for the first time. Nice honor for a 43-year-old, right?
Lewis: Tremendous. Because it's eight years after my last Olympics and it represents my body of work.
SI: Did you ever speak to Ben Johnson after he tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Olympics?
Lewis: No. I always separated sports and my personal life. People said I was arrogant and antisocial. But I was like, "A track meet is work. I'm here to kick your ass, and then I'll go home and play with my friends."
SI: Why has track been so fraught with cheating?