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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Carl Lewis

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 1996

Frederick Carlton Lewis (Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 1961 - ), an athlete born into a sporting family, is known in international athletics as Carl Lewis. He started athletics whilst still young, securing his first triumph in the 1979 Panamerican Games where, when barely nineteen, he carried off the bronze medal in the long jump. In the 1983 world athletics championships (Helsinki) he achieved three Gold medals, a preamble to his success in the Los Angeles Olympic Games (1984), where he carried off four Gold medals in the long jump, 100 and 200 metres flat and in the 400 metres relay. So it was that Carl Lewis earned the nickname by which he is known in international athletics, "son of the wind", whilst equalling the epic achievement of Jesse Owens in Berlin in 1936.

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In the Olympic Games in Seoul (1988) he was king once again in the star athletic event, the 100 metres when he renewed this Gold medal after Ben Johnson was disqualified for failing a drugs test. Carl Lewis added another Gold to this one in the long jump and a Silver medal in the 200 metres. By then, Carl Lewis had gained world-wide popularity, fame and admiration, not only amongst athletic fans, but also amongst the general public. He made a record, took part in a film, wrote a book and created his own company to manage his sporting performances all over the world. In the Barcelona Olympic Games he once again took two titles in the long jump and the 400 metres relay, although he could not renew the title of Olympic champion in the 100 metres as he was eliminated in the classification trials in the United States.

Carl Lewis, together with Merlene Ottey, achieved the record of ten medals in world athletic championships, after the one he attained in Stuttgart in 1993. Lewis secured his medals in four different world championships and in four different disciplines; the 100 and 200 metres flat, the 400 metres relay and the long jump. After his Gold in the long jump in Atlanta, which takes him to a total of nine Olympic titles, he has entered into the history books of the modern Olympic games, as he is held to be one of the greatest athlete of all time.

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