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He won his first national titles in the 100 m and long jump. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Before Lewis, 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m) had been exceeded on two occasions by two people: Beamon and 1980 Olympic champion Lutz Dombrowski.

His winning leap of 8.55 m (28 ft 0​ He also won the 100 m with relative ease.

There, Calvin Smith who had earlier that year set a new world record in the 100 m at altitude with a 9.93 s performance, was soundly beaten by Lewis 10.07 s to 10.21 s.

But though Myricks had joined Lewis in surpassing 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m) the year before, he failed to qualify for the American team, and Lewis won at Helsinki with relative ease.Lewis worked with Tellez and adapted his technique so that he was able to jump without pain, and he went on to win the 1980 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title with a wind-assisted jump of 8.35 m (27 ft 4​ Though his focus was on the long jump, he was now starting to emerge as a talent in the sprints.Comparisons were beginning to be made with Jesse Owens, who dominated sprint and long jump events in the 1930s.From 1981 until 1992, Lewis topped the 100 m ranking six times (seven if Ben Johnson's 1987 top ranking is ignored), and ranked no lower than third.The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body of track and field, organized the first World Championships in 1983.But 1981 saw him run 10.00 s at the Southwest Conference Championships in Dallas on May 16, a time that was the third-fastest in history and stood as the low-altitude record.For the first time, Lewis was ranked number one in the world, in both the 100 m and the long jump.Lewis qualified for the American team for the 1980 Olympics in the long jump and as a member of the 4 × 100 m relay team.The Olympic boycott precluded Lewis from competing in Moscow; he instead participated in the Liberty Bell Classic in July 1980, which was an alternate meet for boycotting nations.He jumped 7.77 m (25 ft 5​ Lewis was determined to set his records at sea level.In response to a question about his skipping a 1982 long jump competition at altitude, he said, "I want the record and I plan to get it, but not at altitude.

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