Question: Do you recollect the incident when you met him?

Carl Lewis: I was introduced to him when I was 10. I heard him speak and really became enthused. Every word he said was positive. He was talking about kids; he wanted us to grow and prosper. We were 10 mouths hanging open! He gave me personally encouraging words. He helped me because I was going through times when I wasn't a very good athlete. In the middle of that, Jesse Owens taught me to keep my head up and always try harder — never give up. He was able to help me move on. So many people I….

Jesse Owens pointed out, "You are quite short." This is one thing that hurt me — that I was really short. But then I had a growth spurt in high school. I remember I once came up to him to accept an award. He said, "Who is first?" I pushed my way out. Instead of immediately giving me the award, he used the occasion to inspire others. "Look, this small boy is working so hard. With his determination he was able to win today. That doesn't mean he will beat you tomorrow. But everybody can try hard and do well. There is nothing keeping you from achieving if you want to." Those kinds of things Jesse Owens said week after week and day after day. A positive attitude always came out of him.