10 Questions with...Carl Lewis

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Carl Lewis can do it all. The track star won nine Olympic gold medals, flaunted his acting skills on the big screen, and is currently running for office in the New Jersey State Senate.

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In August, Lewis will take a break from the campaign to do what he enjoys most—hang out at the track. He’ll be in Hershey, Pa. supporting the talented young athletes in the 34th annual Hershey’s Track and Field Games North American Final Meet. This year, 400,000 kids from across the country competed to become one of 480 finalists participating on August 6. While Lewis says he loves watching the athletes compete, he’s also looking forward to the meet’s Fun Day on August 4, where he’ll join kids for the Moderation Nation Batuka Dance workout. One week before the meet, SI Kids warmed Lewis up with 10 questions. Keep reading to see how the Olympian does…

What time is your alarm set for?
6 a.m.

Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry ice cream?
Strawberry, with no toppings. Although I’m lactose [intolerant], so I don’t eat much ice cream.

What was your childhood nickname?
I’d probably have to ask my sister. Something having to do with being small. I don’t remember a particular nickname, but I was so small all the time, they used to make fun of me because I was so little.

If you weren’t an athlete, what would you want to do?
What I enjoy the most is working with kids. I think I would have ended up becoming a teacher, and coaching and working with kids.

Did you have any pre-meet superstitions?
I would always lay my uniform out the same way on a chair by the bed, with the shoes and everything, in the order that I put it on — backwards.

What is your favorite city to compete in?
I’d say Los Angeles. I competed there a lot. Of course, the LA [Olympic] Games. I kind of started there, and I love the city.

What do you do on days off?
Right now with this campaign I don’t really have any days off. But I’m very low-key. I like to work in the yard. That’s probably the biggest thing. A lot of people say gardening, but I like chopping trees down and digging things. I like to do the heavy work in the yard.

Who is the greatest athlete of all-time?
From my perspective, I’m biased but I’d say Jesse Owens was. The things that he did were like, “Wow!” for me.

Who is your best friend in sports?
Gosh, I had a lot of good friends in sports. I would say my best friend was probably one of my teammates. We were all so close. I think Floyd Heard and Leroy Burrell. We’re all still very, very close.

What is the last item that you purchased?
Would a train ticket qualify? I was heading to and from DC. I love the train.