Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis Announces N.J. State Senate Run

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REUTERS / Herwig Prammer

Former athlete Carl Lewis poses for photographers as he arrives for an award ceremony in Zwentendorf in Lower Austria.

In 1984, Carl Lewis etched his name into track and field history by winning the gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. But like that challenge, he will also need  endurance, cunning and starting blocks for his political run.

(More on TIME.com: See Carl Lewis’ 1984 cover of TIME)

The nine-time Olympic gold medalist announced his candidacy as a Democrat for New Jersey State Senate Monday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported. Lewis, 49, who lives in Medford, N.J., has never run for public office but the party feels that he may have a shot against GOP  incumbent Dawn Addiego in the state’ 8th district which leans Republican.

But he says he’s interested in bi-partisanship and considers Gov. Chris Christie “a good friend.”

“When I was (an) athlete, I also loved my competition,” Lewis said at the announcement. “I’m going to be the people’s candidate. I’m going to knock on as many doors as I can.”

Lewis took gold medals in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics.