King Carl, the Controversial Champion

Frederick Carlton Lewis is a former sprinter and an Olympic legend. He won nine gold medals, one silver medal, and ten world Championship medals (eight of them gold). In a career spanning over two decades, Carl has managed to run faster than everyone, jump higher than everyone, and set astonishing new world records.

Carl Lewis Holding an American Flag

Carl Lewis Holding an American Flag. Photo by David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

But there’s one thing Carl can’t outrun. And that’s controversy. Specifically, stimulant-related controversies.

Tragically, years after Lewis ran tracks like a blazing meteor, his past came back to haunt him.

The Dirtiest Race in History

In 1988, Carl Lewis competed in the Seoul Olympic games, where he participated in the dirtiest race in history. A race in which many of its participants were doped up on illegal substances.

Canadian Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis, Linford Christie

With a new world record time (9.79 seconds), Canadian Ben Johnson (r) won the gold medal in the 100-meter run at the Summer Olympics in Seoul on September 24, 1988. The sprinter was later banned from the Seoul Games for doping. His gold medal was revoked. The American Carl Lewis (M) came in second place ahead of the Brit Linford Christie (l). Photo by dpa Seoul / picture alliance via Getty Images

Canadian track runner, Ben Johnson, won first place, only to be stripped of his medal after he tested positive for steroid use. Lewis came in second, so Johnson’s disqualification made him the proud new gold-winning champion.

Lewis Is Convinced God Has Given Him the Talent

God? Or stimulants? A bit of both. Years later, word came out that Lewis, like Johnson, was on drugs during Seoul’s Olympic games. Unbelievably, the former sprinter responded with, “It’s ridiculous. Who cares?”

Former United States of America Olympian and multiple gold medal winner Carl Lewis

Former United States of America Olympian and multiple gold medal winner Carl Lewis looks on before the medal ceremony of Men’s 100m on Day 12 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Athletics Stadium of Villa Deportiva Nacional on August 07, 2019, in Lima, Peru. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Who cares? The public cares. The most astonishing part about this story is that the US Olympic Committee knew about this. Lewis had failed three tests in the 1988 Olympic trials, yet they kept it under wraps so he could compete.