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Carl Lewis - Famous Athlete

About Carl Lewis

•  Personal Information

Carl Lewis, a former African American athlete who was born on July 1, 1961, in Birmingham, is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all times. The Famous Sprinter and Long Jumper is best known as the winner of 10 Olympic medals, including 9 gold medals, and 10 World Championships medals, including 8 gold medals. He is regarded as the greatest world record setter in athletics.

Carl Lewis started practicing in Willingboro Track Club, where initially, he didn't come out as a prodigal sportsman, unlike his siblings. Despite this, he kept on practicing, while getting encouraged by his parents to set higher goals.

•  Athletic Career and Achievements

At the age of 13 years, he attended the Willingboro High School, during which he started competing in the long jump events, and gradually emerged as a reliable athlete, first nationally and then at the international level. Later, Carl Lewis enrolled at the University of Houston, where he got under the coaching of Tom Tellez, who would remain his coach throughout his athletics career. In 1979, Carl Lewis broke the previously set record with a jump of 8.13 m in the long jump category. The “Track and Field News” ranked him at 5th position on world rankings in long jumping.

•  1980 Summer Olympics, Moscow

Carl Lewis qualified in the long jump and 4x100 m relay team meant for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but couldn't compete due to the America-led Olympic boycott, which was to oppose against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During that period Lewis focused to develop his skills in sprint also.

•  Southwest Conference Championships

On May 16, 1981, Lewis became the world's fastest sprinter in 100 m with a time of 10 seconds, which was the third-fastest in the history of sprint. This record was set at low-altitude, where air drag is relatively higher as compared to that at higher altitudes. Lewis became world's top- ranked athlete both in sprint and long jump categories.

•  1982 Indoor and Outdoor Events, Indianapolis

During the events, Carl Lewis cleared 8.53 m mark five times in outdoors, and two times in indoors, setting the mark at 8.76 m. He achieved his own 10 seconds world record in 100 m sprint, and additionally achieved sixth rank in 200 m dash. The Track and Field News named him athlete of the year by the end of 1982.

•  1983 World Championships, Helsinki

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) organized the world championships for the first time in 1983, in Helsinki. A record breaking number, 154 countries participated in the event, which offered Carl Lewis to showcase his talents at an international stage.

Long Jump: Lewis won the event with a jump of 8.55 m, defeating silver medalist Jason Grimes by 26 cm.

100 m Sprint: Carl Lewis run the event in10.07 seconds, leading Calvin Smith, the silver medalist, by 0.14 s.

4x100 m relay : He ran the anchor in the event, winning in 37.86 s, which was a world record.

•  1983 Tac/Mobil Championships

200 m Sprint: Carl won the title in 19.75 s, recording world's second fastest time and setting the low-altitude record.

Long Jump: He earned world number one ranking in the event after setting a world low-altitude record of 8.79 meters.

100 m Sprint: Carl Lewis set a new low-altitude record at Modesto, by running a 9.97 s in 100 m. Track and Field News titled him athlete of the year 1983.

•  1984 Olympics, Los Angeles

100 m Sprint: He ran 9.99 s in the 100 m sprint, defeating closest contender Sam Graddy by 0.20 s.

Long Jump: Carl won gold medal in the event.

200 m Sprint: Carl Lewis won the event, running 19.80 s in 200 m, and setting a new Olympic record.

4x100 Relay: He anchored the event, and the team won with a finishing time of 37.83 s, which was a new world record.

Carl Lewis 1984 records achieved legendary sportsman Jesse Owens' record of winning 4 Olympic gold medals in 1936 Olympics. He was awarded athlete of the year by Track and Field News, again for the 3rd year, which made him the World No.1 in Athletics.

•  1987 World Championships in Athletics, Rome

Long Jump : The Olympic gold medalist won the title with a leap of 8.76 m, defeating nearest competitor Robert Emmiyan, who jumped 8.53 m.

100 m Sprint : Carl Lewis was beaten by Ben Johnson in the event, who finished it in 9.83 s, setting a new world record. This was the first time when the famous sprinter was beaten by any other athlete in 100 m sprint.

4x100 m relay: Lewis anchored the event to a winning time of 37.90 s, which was the third-fastest of all times.

•  1988 Olympics, Seoul

100 m Sprint: Lewis finished second, 2 m behind Canada's Ben Johnson, who completed the sprint in a record time of 9.79 seconds. Three days later, Johnson was found positive for steroids in doping tests and stripped of the record. Thus, Lewis got his gold medal in the event, with finishing time of 9.92 s, a new world record.

Long Jump: : The Olympic gold medalist won the event with a huge leap of 8.72 m, which became a new low-altitude Olympic record. However, this event too had controversies surrounding the jumping order.

200 m Sprint: Carl Lewis won silver medal, finishing second to Joe DeLoach who bagged gold medal, finishing the length in a new record time of 19.75 s.

4x100 m Relay: : The American relay team got disqualified during the heats due to certain discrepancies

During the period of 1989 to 1991, Carl Lewis lost 100 m event to American sprinter Leroy Burrell, who ran 9.90 s to break the previous record of 9.92 s set by Carl Lewis in 1988 Seoul Olympics.

•  1991 World Championships, Tokyo

100 m Sprint: The event is one of the most widely covered sprints in the history of world athletics, as it showcased a high-profile competition between Carl and the then world top sprinters, Leroy Burrell and Raymond Stewart. Carl Lewis displayed his best career performance, not only by defeating his opponents, but by setting a new world record of 9.86 s in the event. This race had six sprinters who finished in under the 10 s slot.

Long Jump: Carl jumped 8.91 m in the third round, which crossed Bob Beamon's unbreakable record of 8.90 m. However, the jump was wind-aided, while still considered in the competition. In the fifth round, he jumped 8.87 m under legal wind conditions, which was his best under the conditions. Carl got silver medal in the event, lagging behind Mike Powell, who bettered the event with his second round leap of 8.95 m, under legal wind conditions. Mike Powell's world record is still intact.

4x100 m Relay: He anchored the US relay team to a finishing time of 37.50 s, setting a world record in the event for the third time.

Track and Field News regarded him, indisputably the greatest athletes of all times, while Lewis credited his outstanding performance to his vegetarian diet, adopted in 1991, which wiped other speculations about Carl Lewis fitness.

He was awarded ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year award in 1991.

•  1992 Olympics, Barcelona

100 m Sprint: Carl couldn't qualify for the event due to recurring injuries and declining fitness.

200 m Sprint: He finished fourth behind Michael Johnson, and was thus disqualified.

Long Jump: Carl Lewis won gold medal, beating his long time rival Mike Powell by making a huge leap of 8.67 m.

4x100 m Relay: He anchored the US relay team to another record finishing time of 37.40 s, which has been intact till date. During the event, Carl made the final leg in 8.85 s, which is the fastest recorded in the history.

•  1993 World Championships, Stuggart

100 m Sprint: Carl finished fourth in the event.

200 m Sprint: He earned his first bronze medal in world championship, finishing the race in 19.99 s.

Carl didn't compete in long jump and 4x100 relay events.

•  1996 Olympics , Atlanta

Carl qualified for the American Olympic team leading for the 1996 Olympics, which is a unique achievement by any American in athletics history.

Long Jump: Carl Lewis won gold medal, making a leap of 8.50 m, which was 21 cm ahead of nearest competitor James Beckford.

He couldn't qualify for 100 m, 200m , and 4 x 100 m relay events.

Carl Lewis was selected as the Sportsman of the Century by the the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1999, and he was elected also as the World Athlete of the Century by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).A popular American sports magazine named Carl Lewis, Olympian of the Century, which made him one of the most famous athletes of all times.