Carl Lewis will attempt to win his third gold medal of the 1988 Summer Olympics Wednesday in the 200 meters despite an ankle injury suffered during Monday’s long jump competition.
On the same day that he received word that he would be awarded first place in Saturday’s 100 meters after Canada’s Ben Johnson tested positive for an anabolic steroid, Lewis also planned Tuesday to test the ankle.
Lewis had his best effort on his fourth jump, 28 feet 7 1/2 inches, then came out of the pit after his fifth jump with a slight limp. He ran through the pit on his sixth attempt.
The United States swept the medals in the event. Mike Powell of West Covina was second at 27-10, and Larry Myricks of Ontario was third at 27-1 3/4.
“He tweaked the ankle, dinged it up, twisted it,” said Tom Tellez, Lewis’ coach, an hour after the long jump competition had ended Monday. “Right now, it doesn’t feel bad because he’s got adrenaline flowing.
“Carl never complains about injuries. He minimizes them. He never lets you know he hurts.”
When Lewis entered the Olympics, he was attempting to become the first man to repeat in each of the three individual events that he won 4 years ago in Los Angeles. He also will try to win his second 400-meter relay gold medal.
If he is troubled by the injury, he is expected to have a difficult time in the 200. Bothered by a sore ankle at the U.S. Olympic trials in July, Lewis finished second in the event to his Houston training partner, Joe DeLoach.
Among the qualifiers for Wednesday’s semifinals, which are scheduled 2 hours 40 minutes before the final, Lewis was the sixth-fastest Monday. But with two heats of the 200 and the long jump final on his agenda, he obviously was conserving energy.
Lewis called it his toughest day.
“I’ll just have to see how I respond from this,” he said.
As in 1984, when he was criticized for taking only one legitimate jump because he didn’t want to risk injury, controversy surrounded Lewis’ victory Monday.
Although he was supposed to jump first among the 12 competitors, officials allowed him to move to last in the order because he had run 2 rounds of the 200 meters. The long jump final began 55 minutes after the second round of the 200.
Both of the other U.S. jumpers complained afterward, claiming that Lewis had benefited from preferential treatment.
“Just because he’s Carl Lewis, I don’t feel he should have gotten special consideration,” Powell said.
Long jumpers contend that it is an advantage to jump later in the order because they are aware of the results of the other competitors in each round and can plan their strategy accordingly.
After the first three rounds, Lewis was restored to first in the order. He protested because he would have only 5 minutes between his third and fourth jumps, but it became a moot point when the argument lasted at least 10 minutes.
His next jump was his best.
“I had a lot of adrenaline flowing by then,” he said. “I just took that and used it toward my jumping.”