Carl Lewis was born Frederick Carlton Lewis on July 1, 1961, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lewis got his first taste of track and field events by competing for the local town club, which his parents coached. While initially short for his age, Lewis underwent a sudden growth spurt at the age of 15, shooting up two and a half inches in just a month, forcing him to get around on crutches until his body could adjust to the change.
While Lewis qualified for the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow, he never got the chance to compete because of the U.S. boycott. Four years later, Lewis became the most dominant force at the Games in Los Angeles. In the 100 meters, Lewis set an Olympic record by besting the next closest runner by a record eight feet. He went on to win three additional gold medals in the long jump, the 200, and the 4×100 relay.
Lewis went on to compete in three more Games: the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and the 1996 Games in Atlanta. In all, Lewis won nine gold medals, including a final gold in 1996 in the long jump. In addition, Lewis won eight career gold medals in the World Championships. In 2001 Lewis was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Since his retirement from active competition, Carl has devoted a great deal of his time and energy to charity, founding “The Carl Lewis Foundation. An activist for family, youth, education, wellness and fitness, Carl uses his international celebrity status to attract awareness for the challenges and opportunities surrounding these issues around the world and helps youth and families get and stay fit.