As the world's premier female speed skater from 1988 through '94, she won five Olympic gold medals—more than any other U.S. woman, in summer or winter competition.
"She stands as a 5'4", 130-pound rebuke to every sucker who said he would play the game for nothing but won't suit up for a cent less than $68 million...and to every Just-Win-Baby boor, be he in the owner's box-or the AD's office or the Little League dugout. Just win, baby, is about all she does, but that's not why she does it. Winning isn't everything, or the only thing, or necessarily anything."
—STEVE RUSHIN SI, Dec. 19, 1994
Throughout the 1980s and into the early '90s, no one could run faster or jump farther more consistently than Lewis, a 10-time Olympic medalist, nine of them golds.
"Carl loathes mystery. The day he sails farther, he must know every element that created the jump, he must know how to duplicate it, he must feel he controlled it—or it won't be a triumph. In the long jump, as in life, Lewis must happen to it—he cannot let it happen to him."
—GARY SMITH SI, July 18, 1984
He was a nine-time Olympic gold medalist; his seven in 1972 made him the most decorated athlete in any one Olympics.
"Spitz seems to glide through the water with great economy. Long of upper arm and curiously possessed of the ability to flex his legs forward at the knees, Spitz is one of those rare swimmers who inspire coaches to talk themselves silly about man's harmony with the elements."
—JERRY KIRSHENBAUM SI, Sept. 4, 1972