US Olympic Legend Carl Lewis Reveals the Secret Behind His Speed

Published 09/25/2021, 3:37 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 27: Team USA Olympian Carl Lewis speaks during Team USA’s Road to Rio Tour presented by Liberty Mutual on April 27, 2016 in New York City. The event marks 100 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images for USOC)


Carl Lewis was the most dominant force in athletics in the 20th century. The sprinting legend won himself 10 Olympic medals during his time on the track. Notably, 9 out of those astonishing 10 were gold medals.

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Lewis was one of the most versatile athletes in track and field history. Not only did he compete in 100m, 200m, and 400m, he was also the champion and dominator of the long jump event.

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Carl Lewis had a different training routine than sprinters

Carl competed in his maiden Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles. Despite it being his first appearance, he clinched four Olympic medals in all the four events he had entered. He shocked the world with his champion-worthy performance in 100m, 200m, 400m, and long jump.

LOS ANGELES – AUGUST 11: Carl Lewis #915 of the USA runs the anchor leg of the Men’s 4x100m relay race of the Track and Field competition of the 1984 Olympic Games held on August 11, 1984 in the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

In a recent Twitter post, Carl Lewis’s speed was compared to his greatest rival on-field, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson. Notably, Carl tweeted back to reveal the secret of his speed. He explained how being a long jumper gave him the edge over other sprinters, as he had a different training system.

USA’s Carl Lewis celebrates winning gold (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

Carl said, “Just to jump in, I was a long jumper, it is often forgotten. So I trained differently than sprinters. Applying force to the ground is where it is. Lifting is the problem we’re running into now by trying to keep the feet close to the ground. Stick to the science.”

What does lifting mean?

In his Twitter post, Carl had said, ” Lifting is the problem we’re running into now.” Intrigued, a Twitter user asked Carl to further explain what he meant. The Olympic legend replied to the question with a pictorial explanation.

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Unlike Carl Lewis, very few sprinters these days can focus on over two events, let alone four. After the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, he clinched medals at Seoul, Atlanta, Barcelona, and the Atlanta Olympics (1988-1996). The mega-quadrennial games in Atlanta in 1996 was his last Olympic appearance, as he retired in 1997.

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Technology in track and field has come a long way since then. However, while Carl might not be running anymore, his words of wisdom and experiences are valuable and relevant to date.

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Shreya Verma

291 articles

Shreya Verma is an NBA and Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. A graduate of Political Science, Shreya comes from a strong sports background. A professional 10m air pistol shooter, Shreya is also a tennis enthusiast.

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