60 Seconds with Carl Lewis

Carl, you’ve won 9 Olympic Gold medals and 22 international competition golds, is there any one of these medals that really stands out for you, or you’re most proud of?   

The 1984-hundred-meter gold is special because it was my first Olympic medal.   It is also the medal I buried with my Father when he passed away, promising him not to worry,  I would “win another”

You are one of only six Olympic athletes to win a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games, tell us how your training evolved for each games? 

The key for me was to focus one year at a time. I worked on  my personal excellence , not being number one.

Over the course of your athletics career, you broke 10 seconds for the 100 meters fifteen times and 20 seconds for the 200 meters ten times, did you do anything different in your approach to these races and did you have any pre-race rituals you followed? 

My coach for my entire career was Tom Tellez.   His focus was to perfect  my technique. On the night before the competition, I would lay out my uniform in order of how I would put it on the next day, shoes included. Day of the competition, I would distance myself from others, not out of arrogance, but to continue walking through my steps as we had trained.

Who inspired you to start your sporting career and who kept you going through any of the toughest moments of training?  

My parents were both teachers in Willingboro, NJ.   They started the Willingboro track club to give young girls an opportunity to do athletics.   I started as a child playing in the long jump pit with my sister.  As I have always said, I would not have made 5 Olympic teams without a huge support system. It was truly a team effort.  I had support from  family, friends, coaches  and teammates.

It’s no secret that Boston is one of the best cities to lace up and pound the pavement. The city has been named the third best running city in America by Runners World, why do you think that is?

That is surprising to me.  Boston Marathon really must set a tone to get people moving.  Just goes to show what a great event the Boston Marathon is for the city.

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