Mildred Didrikson Wins Gold In Los Angeles 1932 | The Olympics On The Record

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At the end of 15,
I was still really small. That summer was
when I started to grow. As I got taller, I ran faster
and jumped farther. It was a direct correlation. When I talk about it now,
people would never realise I was a small, short kid
for my age. I was a very late bloomer
as an athlete. No one would’ve imagined
that I would become an Olympic champion,
especially at that age. LATE BLOOMER
LOS ANGELES ’84 LOS ANGELES,
4h AUGUST 1984, 7:10 PM DAVID WALLECHINSKY, U.S.
OLYMPIC HISTORIAN Hello? Carl Lewis was about
12 years old, he was competing
as a long jumper, he was very small. One day, at a meet
in Philadelphia, Jesse Owens was there. Carl Lewis’ father went up
to Jesse Owens and said, “Mr Owens, I want to
introduce you to my son Carl, he’s a long jumper”. Jesse Owens looked down
at this little boy and said, “You’re competing against
kids who are bigger than you. You must be
a spunky little guy”. About three years later Carl Lewis suddenly
started to grow, so from being this spunky
little guy at the age of 12, he became a big guy at 15. The number you dialled
is not a working number. Please check the number
and dial again. CARL LEWIS, U.S. 100 METRES, 200 METRES,
4×100 METRES RELAY, LONG JUMP The 100 metre final
was electric, obviously, because it’s a huge event, and the stadium is 93,000,
it was completely full. That’s what was great
about Los Angeles, the morning and night sessions
were full, all of them. There was this anticipation, everyone knows
that the 100 metres would’ve been the most
difficult of the four events. I was focused
on running my best. I knew that if I ran
my best race, I could win. I didn’t worry about
the others, I kept the energy down to:
run your best race, you win. But I knew Sam Graddy
was definitely a challenger, he has a great start,
he’s a good athlete. Ron Brown, also American,
I knew he’d be a challenge. Alan Wells was coming back
but I didn’t worry about him, he didn’t make the final. So, really those two,
the Americans, were the ones that
I thought had a shot, because at the time we were
so far ahead of everyone else. And I realised:
“Don’t worry about them, if you run your own race,
you win”. So it’s really going back to
the basic elements: really specifically, like:
push out of the blocks, run, put your feet down, stay tall. This is what goes
through my head when I run and practice, so that I can clear my mind
and run it like that. In that race he was, even though he kept
winning after that, he was at his peak.
At one point he was clocked, by American standards,
at 28 miles per hour. It’s great. There’s this
great quote from Sam Graddy, who took the silver medal,
and he said at the 80-metre mark
he was in first place, he thought he was going
to win the gold medal, and then out of
the corner of his eye he saw Carl Lewis appear and then zip past him,
and in front of him. Carl Lewis was
a fantastic athlete, no question about it. His winning margin was
the widest in Olympic history until Usain Bolt, so that was the beginning
of Carl Lewis and his four gold medals. The 100-metre medal
meant the most, obviously because
that’s the first one. When you dream of the Olympics
you never know what it’s going to be like
until you get there. And when you go there
and you win, then now you’re
an Olympic champion for life. So, absolutely, the first one
was the most special. I was the best in the world
at that time. DWIGHT STONES, U.S. TV COMMENTATOR
AND FORMER OLYMPIC ATHLETE This is Dwight. In those days when you
broke 10 seconds for the 100 metres,
it was a big deal. At the time the world record
was close to 9.93. So that was a very fast time. In Los Angeles, all of the buzz was of Carl Lewis
winning four gold medals and the 100 metres
was just one, actually the first
of the gold medals he won. He had some control
over three of those medals. He didn’t have complete control
over the fourth one, because he was a member
of the relay team, so if the relay team
made a mistake, with two false starts, if they passed out of the zone
or dropped the baton, that fourth gold medal,
was in doubt, but the other three events
he had control over. None of the events
were close for Carl Lewis in those ’84 Olympic Games. Those Games were
all about Carl Lewis. I wanted to be excellent. When I went to the University
of Houston when I was 18, I had no intention
of being a sprinter, I was strictly a long jumper,
and that was it. The sprinting came on later, as I started to have
some success. I put them on a scale
of 1 to 10, and the long jump is a 10,
the 100 metres is a 4. It’s that different, it is so much more difficult. And that’s why you don’t see
jumpers and sprinters, because it’s very difficult
to do the long jump. You’ll never see a sprinter
that becomes a long jumper, it will never happen. But a long jumper
can become a sprinter, because it’s the easier event. It was a big joy
to win the Olympic Games but the bigger emotion
was relief, because for a year and a half
it was just anticipation, and then the pressure
coming from outside, the media was saying: “You’ve got to do all four,
or you’re a failure.” Therefore it was
a lot of relief to say: “I got that off my shoulder,
let’s go to the next event.” When I retired,
I was ready to go. I haven’t missed it,
per se, one minute. That’s not a negative thing.
I look at it as positive. I’ve milked every ounce
or energy out of my Olympic experience. And when I was on the podium
in 1996 in Atlanta, at 35 years old, it all came out of me, I realized then
it’s time to go because I did everything
I could’ve done times 100. Carl Lewis won 4 gold medals
in Los Angeles 1984 emulating what Jesse Owens
achieved in Berlin 1936 He buried the 100 m gold medal with his first coach:
his father After retiring,
he became actor and singer and now coaches at the
University of Houston

12 comments

  1. Geez! Good thing the rules don't allow javelin throwers to turn completely around. What good would that do a javelin thrower?😄

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