Carl Lewis

From Academic Kids

Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is an American athlete. He attended the University of Houston. He won 10 Olympic medals (of which 9 are gold) during his career, which lasted from 1984 to 1996. He has also won 8 world championship's gold medals, and 1 bronze, from 1983 to 1993.

His accomplisments have led many people to rank him as the greatest athlete of all time.



Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Carl grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey, in the Philadelphia area. At age 13, Lewis started to compete in the long jump. With his high sprinting speed, he also performed well in the sprint events. In 1980, Carl was selected for the US Olympic team, but the American boycott of the Games in Moscow delayed Lewis' debut.

The following years, Lewis set season's-best performances in the 100 m and long jump. At the inaugural World Championships in 1983, Lewis won his first major titles, achieving victory in the 100 m, long jump and the 4 x 100 m relay events.

This made him a great favourite for success at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Also entering the 200 m, Lewis sought to equal Jesse Owens' performance of 1936 by winning these four events, which he did.

After he had repeated his 1983 performance at the World Championships in Rome in 1987, he was set for four more golds at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. However, things did not all go his way. He won the 100 metre sprint, but only after Ben Johnson was disqualified for a doping offence. It has since become known that Lewis himself had failed a drug test before the games, although he was subsequently cleared by the IAAF (see below). In the 200 m, he was surprisingly beaten by compatriot Joe DeLoach. The 4 x 100 m relay team was disqualified in the heats (with Lewis not even running) due to a bad exchange. Lewis had no problems defending his long jump title and headed an all-American podium.

During the season of 1991, Carl Lewis and his team mate, Leroy Burrell, dominated the sprint events. In the races before the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Burrell broke Carl Lewis' world record, as he ran 9.90s. However, in the World Championships Carl Lewis responded to Burrell's challange, in perhaps the best 100m race in history, as a true Champion. In a race where six out of eight runners broke 10 seconds, a situation that had never previously occrred, Carl Lewis became the first man ever to break 9.90s, as he ran 9.86; thereby clinching his third World Championship title in the 100m and setting a new world record.

In the years subsequent to 1991, Lewis's sprinting career began un-wind; although, his long jump performance was still excellent. However, he was challenged in that event as well, as compatriot Mike Powell won an exciting duel at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, in which the legendary record of Bob Beamon from 1968 was finally broken.

At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, another duel between the two was decided in favour of Lewis, winning his third consecutive Olympic long jump title. Lewis also ran the last leg of the American 4 x 100 m team.

In the years that followed, Lewis did not win any major titles. In 1996 - aged 36 - he made a strong comeback in the long jump event, and made a bid for a fourth consecutive Olympic title. Lewis succeeded with remarkable ease, becoming only the third Olympian to win four consecutive titles in an individual event - the two others being Al Oerter (discus throw 1956-1968) and Paul Elvstrm (yachting, 1948-1960). Lewis and Oerter are the only two to have won the same event at four consecutive Olympics; Elvstrm won in two different events. If Lewis would have qualified for the 4 x 100 m team, he could have won his tenth Olympic gold, surpassing his countryman Ray Ewry as the most successful male Olympian.

Carl Lewis recorded a single called "Break It Up" in 1987 with his band Carl Lewis and the Electric Storm.

Lewis retired after the Atlanta Olympics and is now an actor, living in Los Angeles, California.

Failed drug tests

In 2003 Lewis admitted that he had tested positive three times for banned stimulants during the 1988 Olympic trials. Lewis claimed that he ingested the banned substances by mistake in an "herbal supplement". He was allowed to compete in the Seoul Olympics after the U.S. Olympic Committee ruled that his use of stimulants was "inadvertant" and not performance-enhancing. In Seoul he went on to receive the gold medal in the 100 metre sprint after the disqualification of Canada's Ben Johnson. Some scientists believe that the failed tests could be evidence of "masking drugs" used to conceal the use of more serious substances such as steroids. The International Olympic Committee has affirmed that Lewis' medals will not be revoked because it maintains a three year statute of limitations on such cases. Allegations have been made that the USOC did not properly enforce IOC policies on banned substances.


  • 1983 - World Championship - 3 gold (100 m, long jump and 400 m relay)
  • 1984 - Olympic Games - 4 gold (100 m, 200 m, long jump and 400 m relay)
  • 1987 - World Championship - 3 gold (100 m, long jump and 400 m relay)
  • 1988 - Olympic Games - 2 gold (100 m, long jump), 1 silver (200 m)
  • 1991 - World Championship - 2 gold (100 m and 400 m relay), 1 silver (long jump)
  • 1992 - Olympic Games - 2 gold (long jump and 400 m relay)
  • 1993 - World Championship - 1 bronze (200 m)
  • 1996 - Olympic Games - 1 gold (long jump)

Personal bests

  • 100 m: 9.86 s (1991, new world record)
  • 200 m: 19.75 s (1983)
  • Long jump: 8.87 m (1991)
  • 400 m relay: 37.40 s (1992, current world record)


de:Carl Lewis eo:Carl LEWIS es:Carl Lewis et:Carl Lewis fr:Carl Lewis he:קרל לואיס hr:Carl Lewis it:Carl Lewis ja:カール・ルイス nl:Carl Lewis no:Carl Lewis sr:Kaрл Луис sv:Carl Lewis zh:卡尔刘易斯


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