Lewis-Francis in Osaka, 2007.
4 September 1982 |
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||86 kg (190 lb)|
|Achievements and titles|
100 m: 10.04 s (Paris 2002)
Mark Anthony Lewis-Francis (born 4 September 1982) is a British track and field athlete, specifically a sprinter, who specialises in the 100 metres. A renowned junior, his greatest sporting achievement at senior level has been to anchor the Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4 x 100 metres relay team to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Individually, Lewis-Francis has won the silver medal in the 100 m at the 2010 European Athletics Championships, and numerous indoor medals.
Lewis-Francis is a member of the Birchfield Harriers athletics club and is also known as the "Darlaston Dart".
Lewis-Francis burst onto the scene at an early age but did not attend the 2000 Summer Olympics, instead competing at the World Junior Championships, in which he won gold. Lewis-Francis became Britain's top 100 m sprinter after Dwain Chambers was banned for drug use in 2003. He failed to make the final of the 100 m at the 2004 Summer Olympics, but days later ran the final leg of the 4 x 100 m relay, holding off former Olympic champion Maurice Greene, allowing the Great Britain team to narrowly win in a time of 38.07 seconds. The gold medal team consisted of Lewis-Francis, Marlon Devonish, Darren Campbell and Jason Gardener.
As the last of the four in both race and alphabetical order, Lewis-Francis became the fiftieth man to win a gold medal for Great Britain in Athletics at the Olympics.
Despite this and other Olympic and World relay success, his junior success has not as yet translated to consistent performance at the highest level in individual championships. His surprise silver medal in the 100m at the 2010 European Athletics Championships was his first individual medal at senior level.
Transition to seniors
In 2001 Lewis-Francis won a World Athletics Championships 100 m quarter-final heat in 9.97 seconds, which would have been a junior world record, but a wind gauge malfunction meant it was unratifiable.
Unusually, Lewis-Francis' times have become slower as he has moved into his twenties. Although athletes tend to peak around their late 20s in the sprints, Lewis-Francis peak to date remains his performances while in his late teens. He has turned down numerous invitations to train with the top sprinters like Justin Gatlin in America, and prefers to stay living in England on the grounds that he would get 'home-sick.' However he did leave his home town of Birmingham in 2005 to move to Eton and train with a new coach.
Return to top level
After a year out with an Achilles injury, Lewis-Francis engaged in warm weather training in California with his new coach Linford Christie. Putting a history of injuries behind him, he set his sights on making the 100 m final at the Berlin World Championships. However, he failed to make the team.
Following a late call up to the Great Britain squad, in July 2010 he won silver at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in a time of 10.18 seconds, his first major individual medal at senior level. Unfortunately, three days later in a heat of the 4 x 100 m relay, he blundered during the baton exchange that resulted in the team not making the final. Nonetheless, he was selected to represent Europe at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup and he took the bronze medal while European champion Christophe Lemaitre won the race. Lewis-Francis gained a second silver of the season at the 2010 Commonwealth Games: he recorded a season's best run of 10.15 seconds in the qualifiers and he ran 10.20 seconds to finish as runner-up behind Lerone Clarke in the final, having pulled himself back into contention after his starting blocks slipped.
Lewis-Francis tested positive for cannabis after the European Indoor Championships in Madrid, Spain on 5 March 2005, and was stripped of the 60 metres silver medal he won at that event. According to the British Olympic Association (BOA) rules, this rendered him ineligible for selection to future Olympic Games. In 2006, UK Athletics, the governing body of Athletics in the UK, accepted that cannabis had not been taken to enhance performance, and the BOA cleared him to compete in future games.
- Rob Bagchi (22 February 2012). "50 stunning Olympic moments No15: Great Britain's 2004 relay victory". The Guardian.
- Bolt success drives Lewis-Francis . BBC Sport (24 May 2009). Retrieved on 24 May 2009.
- Chadband, Ian (31 July 2010). "European Athletics Championships 2010: Mark Lewis-Francis accepts blame for relay shambles". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Ramsak, Bob (4 September 2010). EVENT Report – Men's 100 Metres. IAAF. Retrieved on 7 October 2010.
- Commonwealth Games 2010: Lewis-Francis wins 100m silver . BBC Sport (7 October 2010). Retrieved on 7 October 2010.
- Lewis-Francis clear for Olympics
- Scott Rutherford (6 December 2007). "Mark Lewis-Francis holds up his hand to missing two tests". The Times. Retrieved 12 January 2008.