He set world records in the 100 m, 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m relays, while his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984.His 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport's longest undefeated streaks.
His relatively modest best from 1979 (10.67 s) improved to a world-class 10.21 the next year.
But 1981 saw him run 10.00 s at the Southwest Conference Championships in Dallas on May 16, a time that was the third-fastest in history and stood as the low-altitude record.
In response to a question about his skipping a 1982 long jump competition at altitude, he said, "I want the record and I plan to get it, but not at altitude.
I don't want that '(A)' [for altitude] after the mark." Also in 1981, Lewis became the fastest 100 m sprinter in the world.
At age 13, Lewis began competing in the long jump, and he emerged as a promising athlete while coached by Andy Dudek and Paul Minore at Willingboro High School in his hometown of Willingboro Township, New Jersey.