Carl Lewis

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFrederick Carlton "Carl"•Lewis
Used nameCarl•Lewis
Born1 July 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 80 kg
AffiliationsSanta Monica Track Club, Santa Monica (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 9
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 10


Carl Lewis is considered by many to be the greatest track & field athlete of all time and, with nine Olympic gold medals, 10 Olympic medals, and eight gold medals at the World Championships, it is a justifiable claim. His Olympic gold medals came in 1984 (100 metres, 200 metres, 4×100 metres relay, long jump), 1988 (100 metres, long jump), 1992 (4×100 metres relay, long jump), and 1996 (long jump). His four victories in 1984 matched the record set by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic Games. In 1996 at Atlanta, Lewis ended his Olympic career by equalling Al Oerter’s record of winning the same Olympic event four times consecutively, with Lewis’s feat occurring in the long jump.

At the World Athletics Championships, Lewis won the 100 metres, long jump and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team in 1983 and 1987. In 1991, he repeated in the 100 and the relay, but finished second to Mike Powell in the greatest long jump duel in history. In that event, Lewis set his lifetime personal best of 8.87 (29-1¼), but lost out to Powell, who with a mark of 8.95 (29-4), broke the legendary world record set by Bob Beamon at the 1968 Olympics. Lewis also competed at the 1993 World Championships, finishing third in the 200. At the Pan American Games he won bronze (1979) and gold (1987) in long jump and was also a member of the gold medal winning 4×100 relay team (with Lee McNeill, Harvey Glance, and the non-Olympian Lee McRae) in 1987.

Lewis twice set individual world records at 100 metres (1988, 1991), although his 1988 world record came at the Seoul Olympics when he initially finished second behind Ben Johnson’s presumed world record, although Johnson was disqualified for doping the next day. In relays he was a member of teams that posted world records at 4×100 metres six times and 4×200 metres three times. Although almost universally considered the greatest long jumper ever, he never set a world record in that event. In addition to his 1991 World Championships personal best, Lewis was denied that record in 1982, when he won the USOC National Sports Festival. Lewis had a jump estimated by most knowledgeable observers to be beyond 30 feet (9.14), but it was controversially ruled a foul, although no mark was found on the plasticine beyond the take-off mark.

Despite his performances, Lewis never achieved great popularity among fans in the United States, and even world-wide his ability outstripped his appeal. He made some attempts to start a pop singing career, but with almost disastrous results, although he has appeared in a few movies. He did become wealthy from his athletics career and many athletes credit Lewis with increasing performance fees in the sport.

Personal Bests: 100 – 9.86 (1991); 200 – 19.75 (1983); LJ – 8.87 (29-1¼) (1991).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1984 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Carl Lewis
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1988 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Carl Lewis
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1992 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Carl Lewis
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Carl Lewis
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes