NEW YORK TIMES
LOS ANGELES [Saturday]-The Carl Lewis Show ended tonight in triumph and a world record. The 23-year-old Lewis, from Willingboro, N.J., won his fourth gold medal in track and field in the Games of the XXIII Olympiad. In the men’s 400-meter relay, the United States team of Sam Graddy of Atlanta, Ron Brown of Phoenix, Calvin Smith of Bolton, Miss., and Lewis won by 7 meters in 37.83 seconds for the only track and field world record of these Olympics. A United States team that included Smith and Lewis set the previous record of 37.86 in last year’s world championships.
Lewis’s previous gold medals came in the 100-meter dash last Saturday night, the long jump Monday night and the 200- meter dash Wednesday night. His four gold medals came in the same events in which the late Jesse Owens won his four in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. “Jesse Owens is still the same man to me he was before,” said Lewis. “He is a legend. I’m just a person. I still feel like the same Carl Lewis I was six years ago, except I’m a little older and a lot more people come to my press conferences.”
At the medal ceremony, Lewis wore brand new jogging shoes. The shoes were white and trimmed in, yes, gold. After the ceremonies, Lewis’s relay teammates carried him off the field. That surprised many people because teammates have often criticized Lewis for demanding privileges not available to others.
“I think Carl has handled himself very well,” said Smith. “He’s a great person to have as a teammate.”
“Carl is a good friend,” said Brown. “He set some goals and he achieved them. People should respect that. A lot of people think he is a showboat, but I don’t think so.”
Lewis has heard the criticism. He said he was misunderstood. “Too many people built me up before the Games,” he said. “All I am is Carl Lewis. I came to these- Games with the intention of winning four gold medals. I did it. I’ve enjoyed the Olympic Games. This has been the time of my life.” Lewis said he would give the gold medal he won in the long jump to Ruth Owens, Jesse’s widow. That was Owens’s favorite event, and he said he picked that one for Mrs. Owens “because it means the most to me.”
After the four gold medals comes rest. “I have no plans after today,” said Lewis. “I’m very, very exhausted. I have to go to Europe next week, but as of right now I have no other plans.” Well, he said, he had one plan. “Tonight,” he said, “I plan to go jump in my pool fully dressed.”