Calvin Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Calvin Smith
Personal information
Nationality  United States
Born (1961-01-08) January 8, 1961 (age 54)
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 152 lb (69 kg)
Country United States United States
Sport Running
Event(s) 100 metres, 200 metres
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

100 m: 9.93 s (Colorado Springs 1983)

200 m: 19.99 s (Zürich 1983)

Calvin Smith (born January 8, 1961) is a former sprint track and field athlete from the United States. He is a former World Record holder in the 100 metre sprint with 9.93 secs in 1983, and was twice World Champion over 200 metres, in 1983 and 1987. He also won an Olympic gold medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay in 1984. He was born in Bolton, Mississippi.

Though Smith was one of the best sprinters in the world in the 1980s he was a quiet and unassuming character and ran in the shadow of the more charismatic Carl Lewis.


Smith had a dazzling collegiate career at the University of Alabama. Smith set the 100 metre world record on July 3, 1983 at the U.S. Olympic Festival at Colorado Springs, with a run of 9.93 seconds. In doing so, he broke the previous record set by Jim Hines, which had lasted for almost 15 years. Both Hines' and Smith's records were set at high altitude.

At the inaugural Athletics World Championships in 1983, Smith claimed Gold Medals in the 200 m and the 4 x 100 m relay (which the US won in World Record time), as well as a Silver Medal behind Lewis in the 100 m.

August 1983 also saw Smith become the first athlete to run under 10 seconds (9.97) for the 100 m and under 20 seconds (19.99) for the 200 m in the same evening in Zurich, Switzerland.

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Smith won a gold Medal as part of the US 4 x 100 m relay team, again establishing a new World Record in this event.

At the 1987 World Championships, Smith successfully defended his 200 m Gold. (At that time, the World Championships were held once every four years, whereas since 1991 they are held every two years.)

At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Smith was involved in the most controversial Olympic 100 m final of all time and ended up receiving the Bronze Medal. Ben Johnson of Canada crossed the line first, with Lewis second, Linford Christie of Great Britain third, and Smith fourth. When Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids and was stripped of his Gold Medal, Smith was upgraded to the Bronze Medal position. The race has been called by one newspaper "the dirtiest race in history",[1] as Lewis later admitted to having tested positive for stimulants in that year's trials, and Christie's urine also contained metabolites of a banned substance after the race. Of the top 5 in that race, Smith is the only one who never failed a drugs test. Smith later said: "I should have been the gold medallist".[2] In the ESPN documentary 9.79*, eventual silver medallist Christie states, and footage of the race shows, that Lewis "ran out of his lane... two or three times" during the race, which should have resulted in Lewis' automatic disqualification. This should have elevated Smith to, at least, the silver medal.

Smith missed out on what seemed like a likely Gold Medal in the 4 x 100 m relay in Seoul because the US did not reach the final following a disqualification for passing the baton outside the legal area.

Smith continued to run for the US into the 1990s. In the later years of his career, he was named captain of the US athletics team at major events including the Olympic Games and World Championships.

His son, Calvin Smith Jr., runs the 200, 300, and 400 for the University of Florida. He’s “earned 16 All-America titles - the most in UF track and field history - plus one national championship...” and was an alternate "in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on the U.S. 4x400 relay.” [1]


Competition record[edit]

Personal bests[edit]

Event Date Venue Time (seconds)
100 metres 3 July 1983 Colorado Springs, United States 9.93
200 metres 24 August 1983 Zürich, Switzerland 19.99

Smith was the second man to break 10 seconds for the 100 m and 20 seconds for the 200 m, a feat he achieved 66 days after Carl Lewis.

  • All information taken from IAAF Profile.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Duncan Mackay (April 18, 2003). "The dirtiest race in history Olympic 100m final, 1988". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The most corrupt race ever". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  3. ^ "Smith, Calvin biography". IAAF. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 

External links[edit]