He was crowned 'King Carl' at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when he equalled fellow-American Jesse Owens' 1936 feat of winning golds in four events — the 100 m, the 200 m, the long jump and the 4x100 m relay.
Born in 1961, in Alabama, Lewis began his athletics career in 1976 when he ran 100 yards in 9.3 seconds. He was denied the chance of participating in the 1980 Olympics because of the U.S. boycott. After his 1984 achievement, Lewis went on to win the long jump again at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He won the 100 m gold, too, when Ben Johnson was disqualified on doping charges, and the silver in the 200 m. He appeared invincible in the long jump, winning a third gold medal in the event at Barcelona in '92 and then a fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Games, his last Olympic appearance.
He won nine Olympic gold medals in all, equalling the record of Finland's Paavo Nurmi and that of Larissa Latynina, the Russian gymnast. His only regret was not having broken Bob Beamon's record of 8.90 m in the long jump.