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Best All-Time Olympic Track and Field Star

When attempting to objectively analyze and discuss the greatest all-time players or teams that have placed or participated in a particular sporting event, it is usually possible to make an argument for a number of different athletes or teams.

However, when it comes to the best all-time Olympic track and field star, there really is not a lot of room to argue. Carl Lewis is undoubtedly the top track and field star in history.

Carl Lewis not only was one of the most phenomenal track and field athletes of all time, but his period of greatness extended for an almost unheard of length. Carl Lewis' first big Olympics appearance came in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It was at the '84 Games that Carl Lewis was his most dominant, truly making a big splash in his first time around.

In the LA Olympics, Lewis won 4 gold medals, including gold medals in the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter run, and long jump (what proved to be arguably Lewis' best event), and the 4 x 100 meter relay.

Carl lewis was tremendous again at the 1987 World Championships in Rome where he won 3 more gold medals -- the 100 meter sprint; the 4 x 100 meter relay; and, again in the long jump. From there, Lewis took that momentum into Seoul where he went on to win 2 more gold medals, in the 100 meter sprint, and again in the long jump.

However, in the 1988 Seoul Olympics Carl Lewis did taste a small measure if disappointment. Prior to 1988, Lewis had always shown remarkable tenacity by managing to always win events in which he was close to the front. But, in 1988, he suffered his first failure in that regard, winning his only non-Gold Olympic medal; a silver in the 200 meter run.

The 1991 World Championships in Tokyo saw another great Carl Lewis show as he won 2 more gold medals, again in the 100 meter dash and the 4x100 meter relay, and also added a silver medal in the long jump. That was the only time in his career he did not win the gold at the Olympics or World Championships in the long jump.

Using that momentum, Lewis went on to have another tremendous Olympic experience in Barcelona, in 1992, where he won 2 additional gold medals, in the 4 x 100 meter relay and the long jump, avenging his silver in the World Championships the year prior.

In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Lewis qualified for the Olympic team in the long jump competition - for the 5th time. He is the only American male to ever do that. Lewis went on to win the Gold in the long jump, and in the process, became only the 3rd Olympian ever to win the same individual event in 4 different Olympic Games.

Lewis eventually retired from track and field in 1997, after a career unparalleled in the history of the sport. In 1999, he was rewarded for his career of excellence by being named the Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Carl Lewis has also been named the Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated and the World Athlete of the Century by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Now you know why we say Carl Lewis was the best all-time olympic track and field star.

Since we're talking about the Olympics, how about Mark Spitz or the 1996 American Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team and the Best All-Time American Gymnast.

What do you think?

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