News01 Dec 2005

World Athlete of the Century Carl Lewis donates US kit to the IAAF


Carl Lewis' donations to the IAAF's Athletics for a Better World (© c)

Carl Lewis of the United States, who was elected as the World Athlete of the Century by the International Athletic Foundation at the 1999 World Athletics Gala in Monaco, has  donated his competition vest from the 1986 Goodwill Games and a tracksuit as well as two autobiographies to the IAAF humanitarian project Athletics for a Better World.

Carl Lewis' achievements are unprecedented in track and field: He is one of two athletes (the other being Paavo Nurmi) to win nine Olympic gold medals. Similarly, he is one of two (the other being Al Oerter) to win four consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same event.

He also won 10 medals, including eight golds, at the World Outdoor Championships, the most by any athlete in the world. Growing up in Willingboro, N.J., Lewis came from an athletic family, and yet he blossomed late in his high school career.

In 1980, as a freshman at the University of Houston, he qualified for the Olympic team in the Long Jump. Because of the US boycott of the Moscow Olympics, Lewis had to wait four years for his Olympic glory.

By 1984, he had already ranked number one in the World in both the 100 metres and Long Jump for three consecutive years. At the Los Angeles Olympics, he matched Jesse Owens' 1936 feat with four gold medals in the same events - the 100m, 200m, Long Jump and 4x100m relay.

Lewis' talent was matched by his longevity. At the 1988 Olympics, he won the 100m and Long Jump. In 1992, he again won the Long Jump as well as the 4x100m, anchoring the US team to a World record of 37.40. In 1996, in his final Olympics,

Lewis had a dramatic farewell, winning his fourth-consecutive gold medal in the Long Jump.

At age 30, he had one of his greatest achievements, breaking the World 100m record with a time of 9.86 while winning the event at the 1991 World Championships.

44-year-old Lewis’ donations will be auctioned at the end of the year and all profits donated to the United Nations Associations: FAO, UNICEF and WFP.

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