STORYCORPS CONVERSATION

Click the play button above to listen to siblings Carl and Carol Lewis discuss their athletic careers and competing in the Olympic Games.

Carol and Carl Lewis

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There were times when Carl and Carol Lewis, the youngest of four siblings, headed to the attic of their family’s New Jersey home to see what kind of treasure could be found.

Among the items that always caught their interest were a series of trophies and track spikes that, the two would eventually find out, belonged to their mother. Evelyn Lawler had been an elite track and field athlete, at one time holding the American record in the 80-meter hurdles and competing at the Pan American Games.

“The first time I knew about track and field, I remember seeing some things in the attic,” Carl Lewis said. “My mother had this big mural of herself that someone painted for her, of her hurdling.”

As accomplished as she was, Evelyn Lawler was not boastful. Carl and Carol had to pry the information out of her.

Track and field and the Olympics were an important part of the Lewis family. Lawler started a track club and soon the Carl and Carol Lewis were on their way to becoming Olympians. Every four years, the family would purchase a new television, then gather around to watch the Olympic Games.

“We would watch together as a family and cheer for Team USA,” Carol said.

“Our Olympic dream started a long time ago.”

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