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Olympics & Track n Field – Carl Lewis – L E’s Stories Special – “Olympic Champion Track Athlete Was Drafted By NFL + NBA After Winning 4 Gold Medals In the 1984 L A Games” – Salute To The Rare Talents Of Carl Lewis

As I write this story today….I must tell you honestly that I was not a big Carl Lewis fan…..which was mainly because I thought he was just “too hung up on himself”…..which wasn’t necessarily arrogance….but more cocky, like a “banty rooster crowing”…..who seemed to walk around with his “tail feathers all pooched out”…..and when he won, which was often, he seemed to never ingratiate himself with the other competitors…..but when it came to the man and his talents….he was undeniably the greatest track athlete to ever live….at least in our opinion….as I feel the videos that I share in this story, will serve as definitive evidence that our opinion is correct….for as a Sportsphile, it matters nothing what an athlete is like personally and regarding character….cuz we focus on the accomplishments of a great athlete.                                                                                                                                                                               

Track & Field – 1980 – NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships – With University Houston Sprinters Carl Lewis + LeRoy Burrell

Carl Lewis is an American former track and field athlete….who won 9 Olympic gold medals…..one Olympic silver medal….and ten World Championships medals….which included eight gold in his career that spanned from 1979 to 1996….when he last won gold in an Olympic event. He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same individual event in 4 consecutive Olympic Games….along with USA discus thrower Al Oerter…..and USA swimmer Michael Phelps in the 200m individual medley.  Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper….who topped the world rankings in the 100m, 200m  track sprints…..and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990’s…..while he set world records in the 100m sprint….. 4 × 100m relay…..and 4 × 200 m relays….whereby his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984….and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks.  Over the course of his athletics career, Lewis broke 10 seconds for the 100 meters fifteen times and 20 seconds for the 200 meters ten times…..and he also long jumped over 28 feet seventy-one times.

Track & Field – 2013 – Special Documentary Part 1 – Carl Lewis

His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations….along with “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee…..“Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Athlete of the Year” by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983 and 1984.                                                                       

Track & Field – 2012 – Special Documentary Part 2 – Carl Lewis

Lewis was initially coached by his father, who also coached other local athletes to elite status.  At age 13, Lewis began competing in the long jump….and he emerged as a promising athlete while coached by Andy Dudek and Paul Minore at Willingboro High School in his hometown of Willingboro Township, New Jersey…..when he achieved the ranking of fourth on the all-time World Junior list of long jumpers.  Many colleges tried to recruit Lewis….as he chose to enroll at the University of Houston where Tom Tellez was coach….whereby Tellez would thereafter remain Lewis’s coach for his entire career.  Just days after graduating from high school in 1979….that’s when Lewis broke the high school long jump record with a leap of 8.13 m (26 ft 8 in)….and by the end of 1979 was ranked 5th in the world for the long jump, according to Track and Field News.  An old knee injury had flared up again at the end of the high school year, and this might have had consequences on his fitness. Lewis worked with Tellez and adapted his technique so that he was able to jump without pain….and soon thereafter, he went on to win the 1980 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title with a wind-assisted jump of 8.35 m (27 ft 4 12 in).                                                                                                                                                                     

Track & Field – 2012 – Special Documentary Part 3 – Carl Lewis

Although his focus was on the long jump, he was now starting to emerge as a talent in the sprints…..with comparisons to Jesse Owens began to be made with Jesse Owens….who had dominated sprint and long jump events in the 1930’s.  Lewis qualified for the American team for the 1980 Olympics in the long jump….and as a member of the 4 × 100 m relay team…..bu the Olympic boycott precluded Lewis from competing in Moscow….but instead he participated in the Liberty Bell Classic in July 1980…..which was an alternative meet for boycotting nations…..when he jumped 7.77 m (25 ft 5 34 in) for a bronze medal…. while the American 4 × 100m relay team won gold with a time of 38.61 s.  He received one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the athletes precluded from competing in the 1980 Olympics  At year’s end, he was ranked 6th in the world in the long jump and 7th in the 100m.  At the start of 1981, Lewis’s best legal long jump was his high school record from 1979. On June 20, Lewis improved his personal best by almost half a meter by leaping 8.62 m (28 ft 3 14 in) at the TAC Championships while still a teenager.


Track & Field – 1987 – TAC Championships – Featuring Carl Lewis In 100m + 200m + Long Jump

While marks set at the thinner air of high altitude are eligible for world records,  Lewis was determined to set his records at sea level. In response to a question about his skipping a 1982 long jump competition at altitude, he said, “I want the record and I plan to get it, but not at altitude. I don’t want that ‘(A)’ [for altitude] after the mark.”  When he gained prominence in the early 1980’s, all the men’s 100m and 200m records and the long jump record had been set at the high altitude of Mexico City.  Also in 1981, Lewis became the fastest 100m sprinter in the world…..while his relatively modest best from 1979 (10.67 s) improved to a world-class 10.21 the next year…..but 1981 saw him run 10.00 s at the Southwest Conference Championships in Dallas on May 16…….a time that was the third-fastest in history and stood as the low-altitude record.  For the first time, Lewis was ranked # 1 in the world in both the 100m and the long jump…..when he won his first national titles in the 100m and long jump…..plus, he won the  James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.                                                                              

Track & Field – 1983 – NCAA US Outdoor Track & Field Championships – Featuring U of H Carl Lewis In 100m + 200m + Long jump


In 1982, Lewis continued his dominance…..and for the first time it seemed someone might challenge Bob Beamon’s world record of 8.90 m (29 ft 2 14 in) in the long jump set at the 1968 Olympics….which was a mark often described as one of the greatest athletic achievements ever…..when before Lewis, 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m) had been exceeded on two occasions by Beamon and 1980 Olympic champion  Lutz Dombrowski.  During 1982, Lewis cleared 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m) five times outdoors, twice more indoors….while jumping as far as 8.7 m (28 ft 6 12 in) at Indianapolis in July….plus, he also ran 10.00 s in the 100m….which was the world’s fastest time….while matching his low-altitude record from 1981. He achieved his 10.00 s clocking the same weekend he leapt 8.61 m (28 ft 2 34 in) twice….and the day he recorded his new low-altitude record 8.76 m (28 ft 8 34 in) at Indianapolis, he had three fouls with his toe barely over the board….whereby two of which seemed to exceed Beamon’s record….and the third which several observers said reached 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m). Lewis said he should have been credited with that jump, claiming the track officials misinterpreted the rules on fouls.  He repeated his # 1 ranking in the 100m and long jump…..and ranked # 6 in the 200m….for which he was named Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News.  From 1981 until 1992, Lewis topped the 100m ranking six times (seven if Ben Johnson’s 1987 top ranking is ignored)….while ranking no lower than 3rd….and his dominance in the long jump was even greater…..as he topped the rankings 9 times during the same period….while ranking 2nd in the other years.


Track & Field – 1983 – Helsinki World Championships – Men’s 100m Final – Featuring USA Carl Lewis

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body of track and field, organized the first World Championships in 1983…..when Lewis’ chief rival in the long jump was predicted to be the man who last beat him, Larry Myricks….but, although Myricks had joined Lewis in surpassing 28 ft 0 in (8.53m) the year before….he failed to qualify for the American team…..and Lewis went on to win gold won at Helsinki with relative ease. His winning leap of 8.55 m (28 ft 12 in) defeated silver medalist Jason Grimes by 0.26m (10 in).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Track & Field – 1983 – Helsinki World Championships – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – Featuring Carl Lewis On Final Leg

He also won the 100m with relative ease. There, Calvin Smith who had earlier that year set a new world record in the 100m at altitude with a 9.93 s performance, was soundly beaten by Lewis 10.07 to 10.21 by Smith….as Smith went on to win the 200m title….since Lewis had not entered, but even there he was partly in Lewis’ shadow as Lewis had set an American record in that event earlier that year. Lewis won the 200m on June 19 at the TAC/Mobil Championships in 1975, the second-fastest time in history and the low-altitude record, only 0.03 seconds behind Pietro Mennea’s 1979 mark. Observers here noted that Lewis probably could have broken the world record if he did not ease off in the final meters to raise his arms in celebration.  Finally, Lewis ran the anchor in the 4 × 100 m relay, winning in 37.86 s, a new world record and the first in Lewis’ career.                                                                                                                                        

Track & Field – 1983 – Helsinki World Championships – Men’s Long Jump Final – Featuring Carl Lewis

Lewis’ year-best performances in the 100m and long jump were not at the World Championships, but at other meets…..as he became the first person to run a sub-10 second 100m at low-altitude with a 9.97 second in Modesto on May 14.  His gold at the World Championships and his other fast times earned him the # 1 ranking in the world that year, despite Calvin Smith’s world record.  At the TAC Championships on June 19, he set a new low-altitude record in the long jump, 8.79 m (28 ft 10 in) and earned the world # 1 ranking in that event. Track and Field News ranked him # 2 in the 200m, despite his low-altitude record of 19.75 s, behind Smith, who had won gold at Helsinki.  Lewis was again named Athlete of the Year by the magazine.At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Carl Lewis entered into four events with realistic prospects of winning each of them….and thereby matching the achievement of USA Jesse Owens at the 1936.                                                                                                                                            

Track & Field – 1983 – Helsinki World Championships – Men’s 200m Final – Featuring USA Carl Lewis

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lewis started his quest to match Owens with a convincing win in the 100m….while running 9.99 seconds to defeat his nearest competitor, fellow USA teammate Sam Graddy by 0.2 s.  In his next event, the long jump, Lewis won with relative ease. His behavior in winning this event stoked controversy….even as knowledgeable observers agreed that his tactics were correct…..but since Lewis still had heats and finals in the 200m and the 4 × 100m relay to compete in….that is why he chose to take as few jumps as necessary to win the long jump event.  He risked injury in the cool conditions of the day if he over-extended himself…. while his ultimate goal to win four golds might be at risk. He knew that his first jump at 8.54 m (28 ft 0 in) was sufficient to win the event. He fouled on his next jump and then passed on his remaining four allotted jumps. Lewis easily won gold, and Gary Honey of Australia settled for the silver medal with a jump of 8.24 m (27 ft 14 in). The public was generally unaware of the intricacies of the sport….and had been repeatedly told by the media of Lewis’s quest to surpass Bob Beamon’s legendary long jump record of 8.90 m (29 ft 2 14 in). Lewis himself had often stated it was a goal of his to surpass the mark. A television advertisement with Beamon appeared before the final, featuring the record-holder saying, “I hope you make it, kid.”….so, when Lewis decided not to make any more attempts to try to break the record, he was loudly booed. When asked about those boos, Lewis said, “I was shocked at first. But after I thought about it, I realized that they were booing because they wanted to see more of Carl Lewis. I guess that’s flattering.”  His third gold medal came in the 200m…..where he won with a time of 19.80 s….which was a new Olympic record….and the third fastest time in history. Finally, he won his fourth gold in the 4 × 100 m relay when he anchored the final leg of the race….when he broke the tape with a time of 37.83 seconds while setting a new world record.

Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Men’s 100m – With USA’s Carl Lewis + Sam Graddy + Calvin Smith

Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Men’s 200m – Featuring USA Carl Lewis


Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Men’s Long Jump – Featuring Carl Lewis


Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Track & Field – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Finals – Featuring USA With Carl Lewis On Final Leg

Although Lewis had achieved what he had set out to do…..which was to match Jesse Owens’ feat of winning four gold medals in the same events at a single Olympic Games….but his achievement did not translate into lucrative endorsement offers that he had expected….as the long jump controversy was one reason….while his self-congratulatory conduct did not impress several other track stars….as “He rubs it in too much”, said Edwin Moses, twice Olympic gold medalist in the 400 m hurdles. “A little humility is in order. That’s what Carl lacks.”  Further, Lewis’s agent Joe Douglas compared him to pop star Michael Jackson, a comparison which did not go over well. Douglas said he was inaccurately quoted, but the impression that Lewis was aloof and egotistical was firmly planted in the public’s perception by the end of the 1984 Olympic Games.  Additionally, rumors circulated at that time that Lewis was gay….and though Lewis denied the rumors, they probably hurt his marketability as well.  Lewis’ physical appearance at the Games….with a flattop haircut and flamboyant clothing, added fuel to the reports. “It doesn’t matter what Carl Lewis’ sexuality is”, high jumper Dwight Stones said. “Madison Avenue perceives him as homosexual.”   Coca-Cola had offered a lucrative deal to Lewis before the Olympics…..whereas both Lewis and Douglas turned it down, confident that Lewis would be worth more after the Olympics….but Coca-Cola rescinded the offer after the Games. Nike already had Lewis under contract for several years, despite questions about how it affected his amateur status….and he was appearing in Nike television advertisements in print and on billboards….so, Nike being faced with Lewis’s new negative image and dropped him after the Games. “If you’re a male athlete, I think the American public wants you to look macho”, said Don Coleman, a Nike representative.  “They started looking for ways to get rid of me”, Lewis said. “Everyone there was so scared and so cynical they did not know what to do.”….as Lewis and Nike eventually did split…. and Lewis signed an endorsement deal with Mizuno.   Lewis himself would lay the blame on some inaccurate reporting, especially the “Carl bashing”, as he put it, typified by a Sports Illustrated article before the Olympics.                                                                                                                          

Track & Field – 1987 – Pan American Games – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – Featuring USA With Carl Lewis On Final Leg


At year’s end, Lewis was again awarded the top rankings in the 100m and the long jump….and was additionally ranked # 1 in the 200m….and for the 3rd year in a row he was awarded the Athlete of the Year title by Track & Field News.  The Chicago Bulls drafted Lewis in the 1984 NBA Draft as the 208th overall pick….although he had played neither high school nor college basketball. Lewis never played in the NBA…. when a poll on the NBA’s website ranked Lewis 2nd to Lusia Harris, the only woman to be drafted by the NBA, as the most unusual pick in the history of the NBA Draft. Ron Weiss, the head West Coast scout of the Bulls, and Ken Passon, the assistant West Coast scout, recommended Lewis because he was the best athlete available.   Similarly, Lewis was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a wide receiver in the 12th round of the 1984 NFL Draft, even though he did not play football in college. He never played in the NFL either.                                                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1992 – Carl Lewis Sings Star Spangled Banner – At New York Nets NBA Game


After the 1984 Olympics, Lewis continued to dominate track and field, especially in the long jump….in which he would remain undefeated for the next seven years….but others started to challenge his dominance in the 100m sprint.  His low-altitude record had been surpassed by fellow American Mel Lattany with a time of 9.96 seconds shortly before the 1984 Olympics….but his biggest challenger would prove to be Canadian Ben Johnson….who was the bronze medalist behind Lewis at the 1984 Olympics…..as Johnson would beat Lewis once in 1985…. while winning most of his races…..when Lewis retained his # 1 rank that year….with Johnson in 2nd place.  In 1986, Johnson defeated Lewis convincingly at the Goodwill Games in Moscow….while clocking a new low-altitude record of 9.95 s. At year’s end, Johnson was ranked # 1…. while Lewis slipped to # 3….after having lost more races than he won. He even seemed vulnerable in the long jump, an event he did not lose in 1986 or the year before…although he competed sparingly…..as Lewis ended up ranked 2nd behind Soviet Robert Emmiyan….who had the longest legal jump of the year at 8.61 m (28 ft 2 34 in).                                                                

Track & Field – 1986 – Goodwill Games In Moscow Special – Featuring USA Carl Lewis – With Larry King


At the 1987 World Championships in Athletics in Rome, Lewis skipped the 200m to focus on his strongest event, the long jump…..as he made sure to take all his attempts. This was not to answer critics from the 1984 long jump controversy….. this was because history’s second 29 ft long-jumper was in the field….as Robert Emmiyan had leaped 8.86 m (29 ft 34 in) at altitude in May….which was just 4 cm short of Bob Beamon’s record.  But Emmiyan’s best was an 8.53 m (27 ft 11 34 in) leap that day, second to Lewis’s 8.67 m (28 ft 5 14 in).  Lewis cleared 8.60 m (28 ft 2 12 in) four times…..then in the 4 × 100 m relay, Lewis anchored the gold-medal team to a time of 37.90 s, the third-fastest of all time.                                                      

Track & Field – 1986 – World Championships In Zurick – Men’s 100m Final With CAN Ben Johnson + USA Carl Lewis

                                                                                                                                                                                  The 100m final was the most talked about event….which also caused  the most drama…..as Johnson had run under 10.00 s three times in the year before Rome…. while Lewis had not managed to get under the 10.00 s barrier at all.  Lewis looked strong in the heats of the 100m, setting a Championship record in the semi-final while running into a wind with a 10.03 s effort.  In the final, however, Johnson won with a time that stunned observers: 9.83 s, a new world record….and Lewis, second with 9.93 s….which had tied the existing world record….but that was insufficient. While Johnson basked in the glory of his victorry…. Lewis started to explain away his defeat…..while first claiming that Johnson had false-started…..then he alluded to a stomach virus that had weakened him….and finally, without naming names, said “There are a lot of people coming out of nowhere. I don’t think they are doing it without drugs.”….then he added, “I could run 9.8 or faster in the 100 if I could jump into drugs right away.”….as this was the start of Lewis’s calling on the sport of track and field to eliminate the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs…..while cynics noted that the problem had been in the sport for many years….and it only became a cause for Lewis once he was actually defeated.  In response to the accusations, Johnson replied “When Carl Lewis was winning everything, I never said a word against him. And when the next guy comes along and beats me, I won’t complain about that either”.                                                                                                                                         

Track & Field – 1988 – Zurich Invitational – Men’s 100m Finals – CAN Ben Johnson + USA Carl Lewis

Lewis not only lost the most publicized showdown in track and field in 1987, he also lost his father…..when William Lewis died of cancer at age 60….prompting Carl to place the gold medal he won for the 100m in 1984 in his hand to be buried with him. “Don’t worry,” he told his mother. “I’ll get another one.”  Lewis repeatedly referred to his father as a motivating factor for the 1988 season. “A lot happened to me last year, especially the death of my father. That caused me to re-educate myself to being the very best I possibly can be this season,” he said, after defeating Johnson in Zürich on August 17.

Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – BBC Special – The Master Finisher: Faster + Higher + Stronger – Featuring USA Carl Lewis

The 100m final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics was one of the most sensational sports stories of the year….and its unexpected outcome would rank as one of the most infamous sports stories of the century…..when Johnson won in 9.79 seconds, a new world record, while Lewis set a new American record with 9.92 seconds….then three days later, Johnson tested positive for steroids….and his medal was taken away….and Lewis was awarded gold and credited with a new Olympic record.  In the long jump, Robert Emmiyan withdrew from the competition citing an injury, and Lewis’s main challengers were rising American long jump star Mike Powell and long-time rival Larry Myricks. Lewis leaped 8.72 m (28 ft 7 14 in), a low-altitude Olympic best, and none of his competitors could match it. The Americans swept the medals in the event for the first time in 84 years.  In the 200m, Lewis dipped under his Olympic record from 1984, running 19.79 s….but did so in second place to Joe DeLoach….who claimed the new record and Olympic gold in 19.75 seconds.  In the final event he entered, the 4 × 100 m relay, Lewis never made it to the track as the Americans fumbled an exchange in a heat and were disqualified.  A subsequent honor would follow….as Lewis eventually was credited with the 100m world record for the 9.92 s he ran in Seoul…..and although Ben Johnson’s 9.79 s time was never ratified as a world record….the 9.83 s he ran the year before was….however, in the fallout to the steroid scandal, an inquiry was called in Canada wherein Johnson admitted under oath to long-time steroid use…..so, the IAAF subsequently stripped Johnson of his record and gold medal from the World Championships…..when Lewis was deemed to be the world record holder for his 1988 Olympic performance….and declared the 1987 100m World Champion. The IAAF also declared that Lewis had also, therefore, twice tied the “true” world record of 9.93 seconds for his 1987 World Championship performance….and again at the 1988 Zürich meet where he defeated Johnson. However, those times were never ratified as records.  From January 1, 1990, Lewis was the world record holder in the 100m…..but this record did not last long….as fellow American and University of Houston teammate Leroy Burrell ran 9.90 s in June of 1991, to break Lewis’s mark.  Lewis also permanently lost his ranking as # 1 for the 200m in 1988….and for the 100m in 1989.  He also lost the top ranking for the long jump in 1990….but was able to regain it in 1992.                         

Olympics – 1988 – Seoul Games – Men’s Long Jump – Featuring USA Carl Lewis


Olympics – 1988 – Seoul Games – Men’s 200m Finals – Featuring USA Carl Lewis

Olympics – 1988 – Seoul Games – Track Men’s 100m Finals – Featuring USA Carl Lewis + CAN Ben Johnson


Tokyo was the venue for the 1991 World Championships….when in the 100m final, Lewis faced the two men who had been ranked # 1 in the world the past two years with Burrell and Jamaican Raymond Stewart.  In what would be the deepest 100 meters race ever to that time….with six men finishing in under ten seconds….that’s when Lewis not only defeated his opponents….but he also he reclaimed the world record with a clocking of 9.86 seconds.  Though previously a world-record holder in this event, this was the first time he had crossed the line with “WR” beside his name on the giant television screens….and the first time he could savor his achievement at the moment it occurred. He could be seen with tears in his eyes afterwards. “The best race of my life,” Lewis said. “The best technique, the fastest. And I did it at thirty.” …..as Lewis’s new world record would stand for nearly three years.  Lewis also anchored the 4 × 100 m relay team to another world record, 37.50 s….which was the 3rd time that year he had anchored a 4 × 100m squad to a world record.  The 1991 World Championships are perhaps best remembered for the long jump final, which is considered by some to have been one of greatest competitions ever in any sport.  Lewis was up against his main rival of the last few years, Mike Powell, the silver medalist in the event from the 1988 Olympics and the top-ranked long jumper of 1990…..when Lewis had at that point not lost a long jump competition in a decade…. after winning the 65 consecutive meets in which he competed.  Powell had been unable to defeat Lewis, despite sometimes putting in jumps near world-record territory, only to see them ruled fouls or, as with other competitors such as Larry Myricks, putting in leaps that Lewis himself had only rarely surpassed….only to see Lewis surpass them on his next or final attempt.  Lewis’ first jump was 8.68m (28 ft 5 12 in), a World Championship record, and a mark bested by only three others beside Lewis all-time.  Powell, jumping first, had faltered in the first round, but jumped 8.54 m (28 ft 0 in) to claim second place in the second round.  Lewis jumped 8.83 m (28 ft 11 12 in), a wind-aided leap, in the third round, a mark that would have won all but two long jump competitions in history…..then Powell responded with a long foul, estimated to be around 8.80 m (28 ft 10 14 in)….as Lewis’s next jump made history….which was the first leap ever beyond Bob Beamon’s record….as the wind gauge indicated the jump was wind-aided….so it could not be considered a record…..but it would still count in the competition. 8.91m (29 ft 2 34 in)….which was the greatest leap ever under any condition.  In the next round, Powell responded with a jump that was measured as 8.95 m (29 ft 4 14 in)….and this time, his jump was not a foul….and with a wind gauge measurement of 0.3 m/s was well within the legal allowable for a record…..for Powell had not only jumped 4 cm further than Lewis….but he had eclipsed the 23-year-old mark set by Bob Beamon…..and done so at low altitude.  Lewis still had two jumps left, although he was now no longer chasing Beamon, but Powell. He leaped 8.87 m (29 ft 1 in), which was a new personal best under legal wind conditions, then a final jump of 8.84 m (29 ft 0 in). He thus lost his first long jump competition in a decade.  Powell’s 8.95m (29 ft 4 14 in)….along with Lewis’s final two jumps still stand as of July 2020 as the top three low altitude jumps ever…..as the farthest anyone has jumped since under legal conditions is 8.74 m (28 ft 8 in).                       

Track & Field – 1991 – Tokyo World Championships – Men’s 100m Finals – Featuring USA Carl Lewis World Record


Track & Field – 1991 – Tokyo World Championships – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Finals – Featuring USA World Record With Carl Lewis On Last Leg


Track & Field – 1991 – Tokyo World Championships – Men’s Long Jump – Featuring USA’s Mike Powell + Carl Lewis Both Breaking Bob Beamon’s World Record


Lewis’ reaction to what was one of the greatest competitions ever in the sport was to offer acknowledgment of the achievement of Powell.  “He just did it,” Lewis said of Powell’s winning jump. “It was that close, and it was the best of his life.”  Powell did jump as far or farther on two subsequent occasions, though both were wind-aided jumps at altitude: 8.99 m (29 ft 5 34 in) in 1992 and 8.95 m (29 ft 4 14 in) in 1994.  Lewis’s best subsequent results were two wind-aided leaps at 8.72 m (28 ft 7 14 in), and an 8.68 m (28 ft 5 12 in) under legal conditions while in the qualifying rounds at the Barcelona Olympics.  In reference to his efforts at the 1991 World Championships, Lewis said, “This has been the greatest meet that I’ve ever had.”….while Track and Field News was prepared to go even further than that, suggesting that after these Championships, “It had become hard to argue that he is not the greatest athlete ever to set foot on track or field.”….while Lewis’s 1991 outstanding results earned him the ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year, an award he shared with gymnastics star Kim Zmeskal.                                                                                                                                                                          

MLB – 2010 – Mariners Home Game 1st Pitch – With USA 9 Time Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis


After the heights reached in 1991, Lewis started to lose his dominance in both the sprints and the long jump. Though he anchored a world record 1:19.11 in the rarely run 4 × 200m relay with the Santa Monica Track Club early in 1992, he failed to qualify for the Olympic team in the 100m or 200m.  In the latter race, he finished fourth at the Olympic trials behind rising star Michael Johnson who set a personal best of 19.79 s….as it was the first time the two had ever met on the track.  Lewis did, however, qualify for the long jump, finishing second behind Powell, and was eligible for the 4 × 100 m relay team. At the Games in Barcelona, Lewis jumped 8.67 m (28 ft 5 14 in) in the first round of the long jump, beating Powell who did a final-round 8.64 m (28 ft 4 in). In the 4 × 100 m relay, Lewis anchored another world record, in 37.40 s, a time which stood for 16 years. He covered the final leg in 8.85 seconds, the fastest officially recorded anchor leg.                                                                                                                                                      

Olympics – 1992 – Barcelona Games – Track Men’s 4 x 100m Relay – USA Team With Carl Lewis On Final Leg – World Record


Olympics – 1992 – Barcelona Games – Track & Field Men’s Long Jump – Featuring USA’s Carl Lewis + Mike Powell


Lewis competed at the 4th World Championships in Stuttgart in 1993…. when he finished 4th in the 100m….and did not compete in the long jump…..however, he did earn his first World Championship medal in the 200m, a bronze with his 19.99 s performance.  That medal would prove to be his final Olympic or World Championship medal in a running event. Injuries kept Lewis largely sidelined for the next few years, then he made a comeback for the 1996 season.                                                                                               

Track & Field – 1993 – Stuttgart World Track & Field Championships – Men’s 200m Finals – With USA Carl Lewis


In 1996, Lewis qualified for the Olympic team in the long jump for the fifth time….which was the first time an American man has done so.  At the 1996 Olympics, injuries to world-record holder Mike Powell and the leading long-jumper in the world, Iván Pedroso, affected their performances…..whereas Lewis was in good form. Though he did not match past performances, his third-round leap of 8.50m (27 ft 10 12 in) won gold by 0.21m (8 14 in) over second-place finisher James Beckford of Jamaica…..as he became the third Olympian to win the same individual event four times….and one of only four while joining Danish sailor Paul Elvstrøm….along with discus thrower Al Oerter of the United States…..and later matched by U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. Lewis’s nine gold medals also tie him for second on the list of multiple Olympic gold medalists with Paavo Nurmi, Larisa Latynina, and Mark Spitz behind Phelps.                                                                                                                                                                              

Olympics – 1996 – Atlanta Games – Men’s Long Jump – USA Carl Lewis Wins 4th Consecutive Gold


Controversy struck when, as Track and Field News put it, “Lewis’ attitude in the whole relay hoo-hah a few days later served only to take the luster off his final gold.”  After Lewis’s unexpected long jump gold, it was noted that he could become the athlete with the most Olympic gold medals if he entered the 4 × 100 m relay team. Any member of the American Olympic men’s track and field team could be used, even if they had not qualified for the relay event. Lewis said, “If they asked me, I’d run it in a second. But they haven’t asked me to run it.” He further suggested on Larry King Live that viewers phone the United States Olympic Committee to weigh in on the situation. Lewis had skipped the mandatory relay training camp and demanded to run the anchor leg, which added to the debate. The final decision was to exclude Lewis from the team. Olympic team coach Erv Hunt said, “The basis of their [the relay team’s] opinion was ‘We want to run, we worked our butts off and we deserve to be here.'”  The American relay team finished second behind Canada.  Lewis’ 8.50 m (27 ft 10 12 in) jump was also officially declared tied with Larry Myricks for the masters record for the 35–39 age group.  Lewis retired from track and field in 1997.                         

Track & Field – 1982 To 1996 – Special – Carl Lewis Highlights

When you consider how sports fans have never really put their arms around Carl Lewis…..for whatever reasons….as the truth be known, when it comes to his accomplishments on the track and in the long jump…..as evidenced by the videos shared in this story herewith….he is without question the greatest American track and field athlete of all time…..and to our way of thinking, he stands at the top with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt as the greatest track and field athlete of all time.


Track & Field – 2018 – Special – One On One With Carl Lewis

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