As Lewis left the track that exhausting night, a red-eyed Jeffrey Marx, Lewis's biographer, reached out across a barricade, arm-tackled him to his chest and said, "You're going to win this thing." Lewis looked at him as if he were telling him the sky is up. "Oh, I know I am," he said. "Absolutely."
So one last time, in his neat-as-a-pin hotel room at the Sheraton in Atlanta, he laid out his Olympic uniform as he always has—the singlet over the back of the chair, the shorts on the seat, the socks over the shorts and the long jump shoes in front, a dream just waiting to be filled.
By 10 p.m. on Monday, July 29, 1996, Lewis had realized one of his wildest dreams yet.
"How the hell did you all get in my dream?" he asked as he sat down at his press conference.
And when they called him forward to his last Olympic victory stand in that sweet Georgia night, he covered his face with his hands again and again, as if even he couldn't believe this. And before they played the first note, he was crying again.
Boy, some guys just can't stand happy endings.