Like many walkers of his era, Tim Lewis started race walking as part of the New York high school program. Originally a runner, Lewis saw a teammate race walking, thought it looked easy, and decided to give it a try. He spent nearly a year mastering the technique and another year competing before he was able to complete the mile in 6:48. By his senior year he was close to 6:30. Lewis also competed in the TAC (The Athletics Congress, the former name of USATF) Junior Nationals as a high school junior, setting a Junior National record that he held for many.
Lewis went to college at the University of Colorado, where he benefited from the nearby U.S. Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs. Training with the likes of Troy Engle, Mike Morris, Jim Heiring, Randy Mimm, Marco Evoniuk, Carl Schueler, Mel McGinnis, and Don Lawrence, Lewis received an early introduction to the world of the race walking elite. At the time, Ron Laird served as the Center’s race walk coach in residence.
Upon his college graduation, Lewis worked full-time in the computer field for Digital Corporation. Fitting training into a busy career, he accomplished amazing feats. Lewis dominated American race walking at all distances, from 1500 meters to 20K, for many years. In the mid 1980s athletes often competed on the indoor track circuit, where Lewis holds the world record for the Indoor 1500M (5:13.53) and 1 mile (5:33.53) race walks. After all these years, Lewis's legacy still dominates American race walking as he holds four of the top five 20K times in U.S. history.
With all of his success, Lewis always took the time to say hello. Mike Rohl grew up in the town next to him. Rohl rembers that when he was an up and coming walker, Lewis would always make sure to ask about how things were going at home. I had similar experiences when I competed as a Junior on an international team with Lewis. Lewis found our common ground of computers and started a conversation. Having the best race walker in the country speak with me as an equal was a huge confidence booster. Lewis was truly a good patriarch of our sport.
He set the American record at an all-comers meet in Canada and raced his two other fastest times at the Alongi Invitational, in Dearborn, MI (1:22:17), and the World Cup in New York City (1:22:27, 13th place). Unfortunately, Lewis did not fare quite as well at his sole Olympic appearance in 1988. He raced poorly, finishing second to last.
By the early 1990s, Lewis felt he had lost much of the joy of competition. He partially retired in 1992, racing a little, and then finally called it quits in 1993. Still residing in Colorado Springs, Lewis now works for Oracle. He no longer competes in athletics, but instead runs "to keep from getting fat," plays a little soccer, snow boards, skis, and camps for fun.