Carl Lewis Biography
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Carl Lewis is an American former professional track and field athlete. He competed in five events; the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay, and long jump. At one point during his career, he held the world records for the 100m, 4x100m relay, and 4x200m relay, which at the time made him the fastest human being ever. Athletes such as Usain Bolt would go on to surpass Carl Lewis in the future, but he was a pioneer for track and field and helped it become the popular sport it is in America today.
Where did Carl Lewis grow up?
Frederick Carlton Lewis was born on July 1, 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. He was first introduced to track and field at a very young age when he began to compete for the local club team coached by his parents. By the time he finished high school he was one of the best track and field athletes in the country. He solidified that title by breaking the high school long jump record just days after graduating with a length of 26 feet 8 inches.
Carl Lewis' Rise to Fame
Carl Lewis rose to fame by breaking his already amazing personal record in the long jump by almost two feet while he was still a teenager. He improved his record from 26 feet 8 inches to 28 feet 3 inches. Because he was now the second best long jumper of all time, he was expected to challenge Bob Beamon's long lasting long jump world record. Carl Lewis chased after the record but did not quite reach it until the prime of his career. He also dominated in the 100m with a personal record of 10 seconds flat. He competed for the University of Houston.
What did Carl Lewis accomplish during the prime of his career?
The 1991 World Championships was the prime of Carl Lewis' career. He broke the world records in both the 100m and 4x100m with the times 9.86 seconds and 37.50 seconds respectively. In spite of these amazing accomplishments, the long jump final was possibly an even more amazing accomplishment. In an intense back and forth battle, Carl Lewis did eventually lose to Mike Powell, but not without putting on a show first. Both competitors broke Bob Beamon's world record, and three of their jumps were ranked as the three best low altitude jumps of all time until 2011.
How did Carl Lewis do at the Olympics?
Carl Lewis was always amazing at the Olympics. He qualified to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but the United States National Team boycotted the event. After the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics he became a household name in America and he helped take track and field in America to a new level. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics he competed and performed well despite dealing with the loss of his father. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics he also competed and performed well, though his age began to show. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, realizing that he was one gold medal away from becoming the athlete with the most gold medals of all time, he tried to enter the 4x100m but was not allowed to run the race.
Fun facts about Carl Lewis
- Carl Lewis was drafted by both the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Cowboys but did not pursue a career in either basketball or football.
- When he was fifteen years old, Carl Lewis underwent such a huge growth spurt that he had to walk with crutches while his body adjusted to the dramatic change. He grew 2½ inches in one month.
- In 2011, Carl Lewis ran for a seat in the New Jersey Senate but was taken out of the running because he did not meet the state's residency requirement.
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