Theron Lewis – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Track & Field, 1960-68
Carver High School/Southern University/1964 Olympics
Theron Lewis became one of the fastest men in New Orleans in the early 1960s during his days at Carver High School and then developed into one of the fastest men in the world as a three-time All-America sprinter at Southern University. He was a member of the 4×400 meter relay team for the United States in the 1964 Olympics.
Lewis, who set a New Orleans record in the 400-meter dash (46.9) as he was named the top performer in the first integrated Sugar Bowl Track Meet in 1964, recorded a time of 46.3 in the 400-meter dash at the 1964 Olympic Trials to finish fourth and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games.
In 1965, Lewis ran the anchor leg on the Southern mile-relay team which set a world-record with a 3:04.5 timing in 1965. He helped Southern to the 1966 NAIA Indoor National Championship by winning the 440-yard dash (48.9) and anchoring the winning mile-relay team, which set an NAIA record (3:15, which still stood as of 2013).
He was also a key to Southern’s 1965 and 1966 Outdoor National Championships, earning overall Outstanding Performer honors in 1965 after winning the 440-yard dash (46.6) and anchoring the winning mile relay (3:09.3); and in 1966, again winning the 440 with an NAIA record time (45.2) and anchoring the winning mile relay (3:10.7).
Lewis was the anchor of the first team (with Olympians Lee Evans and Tommie Smith and Robert Frey) to run under three minutes for the 4×400 meter relay when the U.S. clocked 2:59.6 at an international meet in Los Angeles in 1966.
In 1967, he set the world record in the indoor 440-yard dash. He also set the National AAU Indoor record in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:09.2.
Lewis was inducted into the Southern University Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.