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Carl Lewis - The 1984 Olympics

Famous Sports StarsTrack and FieldCarl Lewis Biography - Growing Up, The "next Jesse Owens", The 1984 Olympics, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY LEWIS:

The Olympics (1984 )

Lewis won four gold medals in the Olympics in Los Angeles, matching Owens' performance in Berlin in 1936. He won the 100-meter race in 9.99 seconds, jumped 28 feet1/4 inch to win the long jump, led a U.S. sweep of the 200-meter, and anchored the U.S. team that set a new world record with its win in the 4 × 100 relay.

But a backlash against Lewis's personality detracted from his feats. He was attacked as greedy when his personal manager declared that he wanted Lewis to make as much money as singer Michael Jackson. Lewis decided to stay at a friend's house, not the Olympic village, during the games, leading some to call him a prima donna. He ran his victory lap after the 100-meter race with a large U.S. flag a fan handed him. Some news reports claimed Lewis had planted the fan there to give him the flag—though he hadn't. When Lewis chose not to take all his jumps in the long-jump competition, spectators who hoped to see him break the world record booed—even though he was following good track-meet strategy, saving his strength for his other events. After the controversies, product-endorsement deals Lewis expected didn't come through, and he became bitter toward the press for a while.


1961 Born July 1 in Birmingham, Alabama
1980 Wins NCAA long-jump titles
1980 Named to U.S. Olympic team (but U.S. boycotts Olympics)
1981 Breaks indoor long-jump world record
1984 Wins four gold medals at Olympics in Los Angeles
1985 Releases album, The Feeling That I Feel
1987 Declares that several top athletes are using steroids
1988 Wins two gold medals and one silver at Olympics in Seoul, including gold in 100-meter dash after Ben Johnson tests positive for steroids
1989 Testifies about steroids in sports before Congress
1990 Publishes autobiography, Inside Track
1991 Breaks 100-meter world record, but loses long jump when Mike Powell sets new world record at Tokyo World Track Championships
1992 Wins third long-jump gold medal at Olympics in Barcelona
1996 Wins fourth long-jump gold medal at Olympics in Atlanta
1997 Retires

Awards and Accomplishments

1979 New Jersey long jumper of the year
1980 Indoor and outdoor NCAA long-jump titles
1981 Sullivan Award for nation's top amateur athlete
1983 Won three events at national track championships
1983 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year
1984 Four gold medals at Olympics
1984 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year
1985 Jesse Owens Award
1988 Two gold medals and one silver medal at Olympics
1991 World record of 9.86 seconds in 100-meter dash
1992 Two gold medals at Olympics
1996 Fourth Olympic long-jump gold medal
1999 Named greatest U.S. Olympian of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated
2001 Inducted into National Track and Field Hall of Fame

After the games, Lewis took acting lessons, played a bit part in a movie, and recorded an album, The Feeling That I Feel, and some singles. The album "wasn't bad. It just wasn't good," Lewis later admitted. Still, his single "Break It Up" went gold in Sweden. He recorded with Quincy Jones and sang the national anthem at a few meets.

In 1987, Lewis's father died. He left his coveted 100-meter gold medal in his father's coffin and pledged to win another one.

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