“It gives me great joy to come to India, a country I love and respect to spread the magic of running and sport amongst the beautiful populace. In the last decade or so, India has witnessed a running revolution and the sport has grown manifold in terms of strength, popularity and interest generated,” said the 52-year-old Lewis, who dominated the athletics scene in the 1980s and won nine Olympic golds.
“The World 10K is an ideal blend of speed and endurance and I’m sure the run will attract many of the best in the world. It’s an honour for me to be associated with the event and witness, in action, these running enthusiasts. I hope my presence will only inspire and encourage them to reach greater heights of performance and success,” added Lewis, who has also won eight gold medals in the World championships.
Lewis has competed in four Olympics. He won four gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres, 400 metres relay and the long jump at the 1984 Los Angeles Games to emulate his peer Jesse Owens, who achieved this milestone at the 1936 Berlin Games.
At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Lewis was awarded the 100 metres gold after Ben Johnson, who won the final in 9.79 seconds, was stripped of the title after failing a dope test.
At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Lewis jumped 8.67m in the first round of the long jump. In the 4A-100m relay, Lewis anchored the United States to gold in a world record time of 37.40 seconds, covering the final leg in 8.85 seconds.
In the 1996 Atlanta Games, Lewis qualified for the American team a record fifth time in the long jump. He won gold and became one of only three Olympians to win the same individual event four times.
His world record in the indoor long jump has remained unbeaten since 1984 and a stunning 65 consecutive victories in long jump, achieved over a span of 10 years, is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted Lewis as ‘Sportsman of the Century’, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) chose him as ‘World Athlete of the Century’ and American sports magazine Sports Illustrated named him ‘Olympian of the Century’.
Since his retirement in 1996, he has devoted his time to charity through the Carl Lewis Foundation which he founded to support different charities including the College Fund (formerly known as the United Negro College Fund), The Wendy Marx Foundation (for organ donor awareness) and the UNCF Walkathon in Houston. (ians)