Carl Lewis Bio And Facts

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis, originally named Fredrick Carlton Lewis, was born in 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama. Lewis went to the University of Houston and during his second year he had qualified to compete in the Olympics. He is known for his historic and impressive track and field career. He competed in 5 Olympic Games from 1980 to 1996. Lewis competed in 3 events: the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the long jump. His most dominant event was the long jump in which he won 4 gold medals. He broke the world record in the 100 meter dash, 4x100 meter relay, and the indoor long jump (which he still holds the record). Lewis is known as one the greatest athletes of all time. He is one of five athletes to have at least nine gold medals.

  • Birthday: July 1, 1961 (01-07-1961)
  • Education: University of Houston
  • Net Worth: $20 million
  • Occupation: Track and Field Athlete
  • Height: 6’2” (188 cm)
  • Weight: 176 lbs (80 kg)
  • Event: 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m relay, long jump
  • Years Active: 1979-1996 (17 yrs)
  • Career Olympic Medals: 10 medals (9 gold, 1 silver)
  • Nicknames: Carl
  • Teams: USA

Track and Field Career

Lewis grew up with two track coaches as his parents. He began competing in long jump at just age 13. As a high schooler, Lewis quickly established himself as an impressive athlete and claimed the fourth position on the all-time World Junior list of long jumpers. During his first season at University of Houston, Lewis won the 1980 NCAA long jump title. During this season he qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympic games in the long jump and in the 4x100-meter relay. However, because of the boycott by the USA, Lewis had to wait four more years to compete in the Olympics.

In the following Olympic games, the 1984 Los Angeles games, Lewis won gold in 100-meter, 200-meter, the long jump, and the 4x100-meter relay. In the 1988 Seoul Games, Lewis won gold in the 100-meter and long jump. In 1992 and 1996, Lewis maintained his dominance in the long jump winning gold both years. This was his final professional competition.

Titles and Awards

Carl Lewis’ career and accomplishments are some of the most impressive of any athlete. Throughout his career, he accumulated 10 Olympic medals, 9 of which were gold. The fact that his dominance in numerous Olympic events lasted for four Olympics was unheard of at the time. He also won 10 World Championship medals, 8 of them being gold. Lewis won 2 gold medals in the Pan American Games and 3 gold medals in the Goodwill games.

The governing body of international track and field, the IAAF, honored Lewis as the World Athlete of the Century. Lewis was honored as the Olympian of the Century, and the International Olympic Committee chose Lewis as the Sportsman of the Century.

Personal Life

Carl Lewis grew up in a track and field family. His parents both coached track and field. Lewis’ sister, Carol, was also a successful long jumper. Carol Lewis won 4 US Championships and placed 3rd in the 1983 World Championships.

Following retirement, Carl Lewis has become an actor and politician. His movies include Alien Hunter, Speed Zone, and The Last Atom. In 2011, he tried to run for a seat in the New Jersey Senate. He was unable to run because of the state’s residency requirement.

Fun Facts

  • Carl Lewis won 65 consecutive long jump competitions over the course of 10 years.
  • Lewis broke world records in 4 events.
  • Lewis got inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
  • Lewis won 10 Olympic Medals and 10 World Championship medals.  
  • Lewis is one of 3 Olympic athletes to have won a gold medal in the same event in 4 consecutive Olympic Games.
  • In the 100-meter dash, Lewis ran faster than 10 seconds, 15 times.
  • Lewis jumped over 28 ft on 71 different occasions.
  • Carl Lewis was inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016. 
  • Lewis’ sister was an Olympian as well. She won a bronze medal in the 1983 World Championships.
  • Lewis created The Carl Lewis Foundation to raise money for a number of charities that Lewis supports. Some of these charities include Best Buddies, The Wendy Marx Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
  • Lews currently works as a coach for the University of Houston Track and Field Team.


Why is Carl Lewis famous?

Carl Lewis is most well known for his dominance as a track and field athlete. He competed professionally from 1979-1996. Throughout these years, he competed in four Olympic games. One aspect that made him stand out from others was his versatility. He was successful in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the long jump. Long jump was his best event, but he was still a threat and winner in other events as well.

How many Olympic medals did Carl Lewis Win?

Carl Lewis won 10 Olympic medals over the course of his career. 9 of those medals were gold. In four Olympic games, Lewis won four gold medals in long jump. This feat has only been done by very few athletes. In the 100-meter dash, Lewis won two gold medals. In the 200-meter dash, Lewis won a gold medal and a silver. In the 4x100-meter relay, Lewis won two gold medals.

What records did Carl Lewis break?

Throughout Lewis’ historic career, he was successful in shattering records. In 1991, Lewis broke the world record in the 100-meter dash. This is one of the most polarizing events in the world, and the winner is considered the “fastest man in the world.” The time Lewis ran in 1991 was 9.86 seconds. The current world record is held by Usain Bolt at 9.58. Lewis was also a part of the US 4x100-meter relay team that broke the world record in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.