On this day in Alabama history: Olympian Carl Lewis was born

On this day in Alabama history: Olympian Carl Lewis was born
Carl Lewis during a long jump for track and field as an athlete at the University of Houston. (University of Houston Libraries, Special Collection; Wikipedia)

July 1, 1961

Born in Birmingham on this day in 1961, track and field star Frederick Carlton Lewis carried on the Olympic torch first picked up by his mom, Evelyn, who competed in the 1952 Olympics in the 80-meter hurdles. The Lewis family lived in Birmingham until 1963 when they moved to New Jersey. Lewis’ track career was launched when his parents opened a track club in New Jersey. He went on to shine as a world-class long jumper during his junior and senior years of high school and while attending the University of Houston. During the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Lewis won gold medals in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump and the 4×100 meter relay. He was the first Olympic athlete to win four gold medals since fellow Alabamian Jesse Owens accomplished the feat at the Olympics in 1936. Lewis won consecutive gold medals in the long jump in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996, and in the 100-meter dash in 1984 and 1988. In 1999,Lewis was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and also was voted “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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