Carl Lewis

In honor of Black History Month, every day The Cardinal will feature a prominent person who has contributed to society.

Carl+Lewis

Ethan Pham, Sports Editor

Carl Lewis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, US on 1st July 1961. He became one of the greatest track and field stars of all time. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996 and included nine Olympic gold medals.  His performance at the 1984 Olympics earned him four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, Long Jump and 4*100 meter relay – an achievement equalling that of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics.  He has been voted Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper who topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990s. He set world records in the 100 m, 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m relays, while his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984. 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 ten seconds for the 100 meters 15 times and 20 seconds for the 200 meters 10 times. Lewis also long jumped over 28 feet 71 times.

Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and “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.

After retiring from his athletics career, Lewis became an actor and has appeared in a number of films. In 2011, he attempted to run for a seat as a Democrat in the New Jersey Senate, but was removed from the ballot due to the state’s residency requirement. Lewis owns a marketing and branding company named C.L.E.G., which markets and brands products and services including his own.