Carl Lewis during an earlier visit to the UAE a few years back. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archive

Dubai: Carl Lewis, one of the most celebrated Olympians ever, will be the headline act at next week’s International Sports Innovation Conference alongside other prominent sportspersons and champions of tolerance from around the world.

Organised by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, which is a Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative, the first International Sports Innovation Conference will be held on November 18 at the Hilton Al Habtoor under the theme ‘Tolerance and Peace in Sport.’ Lewis will be sharing his ‘Champion Experience’ in the final session of the conference.

Among those who have confirmed earlier are Kirsty Coventry, Africa’s most decorated Olympian and Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; Dr Sonia Ben Cheikh, Tunisia’s Minister of Youth and Sports; Daniela Bas, Director of the Division For Inclusive Social Development at the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs and former Egyptian judoka Mohamed Ali Rashwan, winner of a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games and the 1985 and 1987 World Judo Championships.

Rashwan and Bas will be sharing the dais in the opening session of the conference, titled ‘Sports – Language of Tolerance’ while Sonia Ben Cheikh and Kirsty Coventry will take centrestage in the second session, titled ‘Sports Diplomacy.’

Lewis the legend will be sharing his memories that include winning 10 World Championship medals as well, eight of which were gold, and setting world records in 100m, 4×100m, 4×200m relays and the indoor long jump, which has stood since 1984.

The only man to successfully defend an Olympic long jump title, Lewis is one of only three Olympic athletes to win a gold medal in the same individual event - long jump in his case - in four consecutive Olympic Games. The others on that elite list are Danish sailor Paul Elvstrøm, discus thrower Al Oerter of the US and his compatriot swimmer Michael Phelps.

Besides the long jump gold medals at the Olympics, Lewis won the 100, 200m and 4x100m relay gold on his Olympic debut at home in Los Angeles in 1984 to match Jesse Owens’ feat of winning four gold medals in the same events at a single Olympic Games (1936 Berlin). Four years later in Seoul 1988, Lewis defended his 100m crown and bagged a silver in the 200m and in 1992 Barcelona, he added another 4x100m relay gold to his collection.