Lewis, who is an Olympic Sportsman of the Century, said he deliberately chose to go to college so that he could gain the skills to run the “Carl Lewis business,” and always looks for ways to build knowledge. “I went to college to get the technical skills to manage my business,” he said, adding that he would seek out people to learn from, including Michael Jackson, who he approached at a Grammy awards event.
He encouraged the 400 students attending the forum from across the globe to take what they learn and experience about new cultures in Doha and take it home with them, as this will benefit them.
Marie-José Pérec, a triple Olympic champion in track and field, said she discovered her full talent by accident when she was 16 and a coach recognized her speed. Before that, running was just something she loved doing. “None of my family knew anything about sport, but I embraced it.”
She said her success in sport went far beyond medals. “I come from a modest family, and sport was an opportunity to do something with my life. It put this tiny island of Guadeloupe on the map. It was not only about winning, it was so much more.”
Like Pérec, Lewis only discovered his full abilities when he was older and before that did sport because he enjoyed it. “I never thought I would develop to the level that I did. So I tell young people to just go out and do it. Enjoy it. It’s not about winning – and while that’s easy to say, I mean it since I wasn’t winning. I was just enjoying myself.”