Frederick Carlton Lewis, better known to the sports community as Carl Lewis, is an American track and field athlete who’s famous for his world-breaking performances during the Olympic games. He was born on July 1, 1961, in Birmingham, Alabama, to an athletic family. His father, William Lewis, ran a sports club, while his mother, Evelyn, was a hurdler for the Pan-Am team in 1951. This early exposure to sports would set the foundation for Lewis’ career.
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Lewis had an impressive career spanning from 1979 to 1996. Throughout these years, the athlete won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and at least ten World Championships medals. He topped the world rankings for 100 and 200-meter dashes as well as long jump events. Lewis also set and broke world records for relays and indoor long jumps, with the latter remaining unbroken since 1984.
Due to Lewis’ accomplishments, many fans worldwide have likened him to Olympic legend, Jesse Owens. For three consecutive years, Track & Field News dubbed him “Athlete of the Year.” He was also awarded the titles of “World Athlete of the Century” and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Olympic Committee, respectively.
With Lewis’ fame and fortune, it’s almost impossible to escape controversy. From the alleged use of stimulants to rumors about his sexuality, the athlete’s life has been stripped and investigated. It doesn’t help that Lewis is incredibly private about his personal affairs. Even up to this day, people still ask the question: is Carl Lewis gay? Let’s address the talks below.
VOTE: What is Carl Lewis’s Sexuality?
The Rumors About Carl Lewis’ Sexuality
The rumors surrounding Carl Lewis erupted during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Although Lewis emerged triumphant, winning four gold medals at a single Olympic Games, the public perception had dramatically changed. After winning the long jump event, fellow athletes and fans didn’t like his self-congratulatory conduct.
To add fuel to the fire, Joe Douglas, Lewis’ agent, was said to have compared the athlete to superstar Michael Jackson. Douglas insisted that he was misquoted, but the damage had been done. At this point, the public viewed Lewis as aloof and arrogant.
In addition, speculations claimed that Lewis was gay. This was largely part of his flattop haircut and flamboyant outfits during the games. He was also soft-spoken and mild-mannered, further implicating him in the rumors. Although Lewis denied the allegations, the talks completely impacted his career.
Several high-profile brands dropped him because they didn’t want to be associated with his negative or homosexual image. Lewis stated that the companies were just looking for ways to get rid of him. He also blamed the media for their unfair and biased reporting against him. Despite his consistent denial, the gay rumors would follow Lewis even later in his career.
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The 2003 Stimulant Scandal
Even after retirement, scandals still followed the decorated athlete. In 2003, the United States Olympic Committee’s director of drug control, Wade Exum, revealed names of athletes who failed drug tests but were allowed to compete anyway. The list spanned from 1988 to 2000 and mentioned the name of Carl Lewis.
Lewis was accused of taking stimulants during his performances, even though they were considered dietary supplements during that time. The star athlete denied the claims, stating that he “accidentally consumed the banned substances.” In an interview, Lewis further supported his statement and added that he didn’t understand Exum’s intent with the case.
The allegations were investigated, but it was concluded that the 1988 USOC followed the correct procedures.
Is Carl Lewis Gay?
No, Carl Lewis is not gay. Rumors regarding his sexuality stem from his appearance during the 1984 Olympic Games. Lewis was unfairly judged by the public and the media for his haircut, clothing, and personality, which contradicted the macho stereotypes of the time. The athlete also denied the allegations, implying that he is straight.