Carl Lewis, The Dominant But Unloved Athlete Of The '80s

By Kellar Ellsworth
Carl Lewis holds the American flag after winning the 100m Men's final in 9:99, at the Los Angeles Olympic games, on August 04, 1984. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Olympian Carl Lewis dominated the track and long jump like no other athlete in the history of the sport, winning four gold medals in 1984. Perhaps more impressive, he took the gold in the long jump in four consecutive Olympics -- that's 12 years of owning the event. But Lewis had an image problem -- though hyped in the sporting press for his achievements, he couldn't cross over into popular culture like celebrity Olympians Mark Spitz, Dorothy Hamill, and Bruce Jenner before him -- and Mary Lou Retton, a fellow 1984 gold medalist.