Carl Lewis Coming to Nike Sprint Summit



For Further Information Contact:

Joy Kamani  

Cedric Walker


January 25, 2003


The man with 9 Olympic gold medals will join the spectacular team of coaches at the inaugural Nike Sprint Summit being held in conjunction with the Nike Indoor Championships this March.


Carl Lewis, the legendary sprinter, holder of nine Olympic gold medals and two current world relay records returns to the track on March 14th at the Prince George Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Maryland for the Nike Sprint Summit. 


This is the first year that the Nike Indoor Championships will feature the Sprint Summit as part of its activities.  The meet, which is scheduled for March 15-16th will showcase the best in America’s high school track and field talent.  Already the fields are filling with the nation’s finest.


Lewis will join 2004 Olympic staff member, Coach Orin Richburg and Colorado Flyers coach Tony Wells who along with Houston Westbury girls coach Rose Brimmer and New Jersey’s Winslow Township High School’s Russell Bates will present what is being described as the “Sprint Clinic of the Future,” a nuts and bolts presentation combined with a hi-tech  component featuring reaction time testing.


“Carl brings that added dimension to the Summit,” Summit Co-coordinator, Joy Kamani declared. “Who better to speak to young athletes about the sprints than Carl Lewis.  He is the sprints!  He’s the prototype- tested and proven over an enduring career. As an athlete, he is the sprinting authority.  And who better to speak to other athletes from an athlete’s perspective than an athlete.”


Carl recalls his own high school career, “It was a big deal to go these kinds of meets,” he said referring to the Nike Indoor Championships.


“King Carl” as he is often affectionately known, is looking forward to the venture. “We need to do more for kids, building kids in the sport and letting them know that track is fun, and here’s how you do it,” he stated.  “Doing this goes a long way toward solving the long-term growth problems in our sport.”


This sentiment is echoed by Sprint Summit Co-coordinator, Cedric Walker, “We want kids to come back to the sport we used to have such a world domination over.  This is one way we can help that process along.”


“It is tremendous for me to come to this event,” Carl continued.  “It’s just like me meeting the old class of athletes prior to me.  I still recall those times.  Bridging the gap is what it’s about… we have to bridge the gap.  I’m happy to see these kids and its good for them to see and speak with athletes like myself who have competed, who can give them insight into the sport.”


Some of our young athletes may wonder just why we make such a big deal over Carl Lewis and why is he so significant in track and field history.  Perhaps its difficult to imagine capturing nine Olympic gold medals, including four consecutive gold medals in the long jump, when your own concern is making it to a national meet like the NIC or making the finals in your event.


But, Carl knows about that end of it as well.  He comes from a track family.  While most are familiar  with his sister Carol’s early exploits in the track world as a  long jumper few realize that his mother, Evelyn Lawler, made the 1951 Pan Am team as a hurdler.  Carl’s career spanned nearly 20 years from age 7 until he retired after the 1996 Olympics.  He was a member of just about every type of team this country has fielded- Junior teams, World Championship teams, Pan Am teams and, of course, Olympic teams.


Although he holds personal bests of 9.86 in the 100 meters, 19.75 in the 200 meters, 47.01 for the 400 and 29’-1.25” (28’-10.25” indoors) in the long jump it may be his 1988 9.78 wind-aided mark in the 100 meters which arguably gets the most attention today.  If 9.78 sounds familiar its because it equals the current world record mark set by Tim Montgommery just last year running with a 2.0 legal wind!


In the 1992 Olympics Carl, Michael Marsh, Leroy Burrell and Dennis Mitchell set the World record in the 4x100 meter relay at 37.40.  It was equaled a year later in Germany by Marsh, Burrell, Andre Cason and Jon Drummond.  Two years later in 1994 Floyd Heard joined Carl, Burrell and Marsh to set the world 4x200 meter record at 1:18.68. Both records stand today.


The trip to Landover will be somewhat of a homecoming for Carl who has east coach roots having grown up in Willingboro, New Jersey.  His old high school will be competing at the meet as well.  Willingboro is making its own statements this year.  The school’s premier high jumper, Mike Morrison leads the nation in both the high jump and long jump at 7’3” and 23-8.25 respectively, while the 4x4 and 4x8 relay teams occupy the number 3 and number 2 spots in those events.  Willingboro has run 3:25 on the flat track and 8:02.50 on the banked Armory track.


The Nike Sprint Summit will be held on Friday evening, March 14th from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on the track at the Prince George facility.  It will be free to all athletes registered for the Nike Indoor Championships.  Coaches, parents and others wanting to attend will pay only $10.00.   The meet kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and athletes will have an opportunity to put to use the knowledge they’ve learned from the King of Sprints.


As Nike representative, Josh Rowe, said, “We want to be certain that everyone who leaves the Summit leaves with something they did not already know.  The more high level information we’re able to provide, the better.  We’ll make it worth their while.”  With King Carl on hand to teach, not merely as a spectator, Rowe’s words are a sure bet.