Carl Lewis

Nine-time Olympic Champion, Track and Field.

Unquestionably one of the greatest athletes of all time, Lewis ranked twelveth on the ESPN SportsCentury poll of the century's greatest athletes. In his Olympic career, he equalled the legendary feats of Jesse Owens, Paavo Nurmi and Al Oerter. Carl made the 1980 Olympic team that did not get the opportunity to compete in Moscow, but it was in 1981 that he leaped onto the track scene. He became the first man since Jesse Owens to win the 100 meters and the long jump at the national championships and ranked number one in the world in both events. At the inagural world championships in 1983 in Helsinki, Lewis won both the 100 and the long jump and anchored the U.S. relay team to a gold medal and a world record. Expectations were high entering the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and Lewis met them. He equalled another Owens' feat by winning four gold medals, in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and anchoring another relay team to a gold medal and a world record. At the 1987 world championships, Lewis won the 100 meters (after Canadian Ben Johnson gave up his gold for admitting to steroid use), long jump and 4x100 relay. At the 1988 Olympics he won the 100 meter gold after Johnson was disqualified for drug use, he repeated his gold in the long jump also, but finished second in the 200 meters, his only ever Olympic defeat. The U.S. relay team, running in the heats without Lewis, was disqualified and cost him another golden opportunity. Lewis drifted in the world rankings for a couple of years following the Olympics, but was back in top for in 1991. At the world championships in Tokyo, Lewis had one of the great meets in track history. He won the 100 meters and set his first inidivual world record of 9.86 seconds. He finished second in the long jump in a classic duel with Mike Powell. It took Powell's breaking of Bob Beamon's 23 year old world record to beat Lewis and end his 66 meet winning streak. Lewis then once again anchored the relay team to a world record of 37.50 and a gold medal. At the 1992 Olympic trials, Lewis was ill and only qualified for the team in the long jump and as a relay alternate. Lewis won the long jump for the third straight Olympiad and due to an injury to Mark Witherspoon, was back on the relay team. He once again anchored the relay to a gold medal and a world record. Everyone thought Carl's Olympic career was over, but with the games being held once again in the United States, he held out for four more years. He qualified only in the long jump. In the preliminaries at the Olympic games, Lewis was in fifteenth place with only one jump left and only twelve men qualifying for the final, with that Lewis uncorked the longest jump of the preliminaries and went on to equal Al Oerter's feat by winning the same event four consecutive Olympiads. He also tied the all-time record of nine gold medals with Paavo Nurmi, Larisa Latinyina and Mark Spitz. Lewis ranked number one in the world nineteen times; seven times in the 100 (1981-'85, '87, '88), ten times in the long jump (1981-'85, '87-'89, '92, '96) and twice in the 200 (1984, '87).





1986 Preliminary 1




Obstacle Course
1986 Final




1989 Preliminary 2


43 1/2


Bike Race, Obstacle Course
1989 Final





121 1/2



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