Carl's outstanding career includes 9 gold and one silver Olympic medals in 100 and 200 metres sprints, long jumps and 4 x 100 m relays. He was voted World Athlete of the Decade, 1980s and Olympic Athlete of the Century award. He first achieved a world ranking in 1979, and maintained his emphatic grip on world athletics until 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired He was named Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News in 1982, 1983 and 1984, and set world records in the 100 m, 4 x 100 m and 4 x 200 m relays.
His world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984 and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport's longest undefeated streaks. His was voted "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and was named "Olympian of the Century" by the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated. Carl is the only man to defend an Olympic 100 meter or long jump title successfully.
Carl went vegan for health reasons as he was eager to obtain nutrients while minimising excessive calories. In the following season he improved his performances. "I've found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look. (I know that sounds vain, but all of us want to like the way we look.) I enjoy eating more, and I feel great."
Carl performing in 1984: