Panam Sports President Neven Ilic, left, invited American nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis, right, to Santiago 2023 as a guest of honour ©Panam Sports

Nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis of the United States is set to attend the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, having been invited by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic.

Lewis' glittering career began at the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico's capital San Juan in 1979, where he won a long jump bronze at the age of 17.

At his home Pan American Games of Indianapolis 1987, he set what remains a record for the event of 8.79 metres in the long jump as well as contributing to a successful American effort in the men's 4x100 metres relay.

He looked back with fond memories on his experience at the Pan American Games, and is excited to travel to the Chilean capital later this month.

"I’m so looking forward to coming down to Santiago for the 2023 Pan Am Games," he said.

"As you know, I went to the Pan Am Games more than once, and actually it was my first international team, so it’s really exciting to get down there.

"So I’m looking forward to seeing all of you, I’m going to have a great time, it’s going to be a great event, and I’ll see you soon."

Lewis won back-to-back Olympic golds in the men's 100m at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, and four consecutive titles in the long jump from Los Angles 1984 through to Atlanta 1996.

He also won 200m gold at Los Angeles 1984 and silver at Seoul 1988, and helped the US to men's 4x100m relay golds at Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992.

Eight World Athletics Championships gold medals also count among his list of honours.

Carl Lewis of the US won nine Olympic golds during his career, including four consecutive titles in the men's long jump ©Getty Images
Carl Lewis of the US won nine Olympic golds during his career, including four consecutive titles in the men's long jump ©Getty Images

Lewis admitted in 2003 that he had failed three tests for a stimulant at the 1988 US Olympic trials, but claimed he was one of "hundreds" of American athletes allowed to escape bans at the time by the US Olympic Committee.

Ilic, an International Olympic Committee member in Chile, expressed his delight at welcoming Lewis to the Pan American Games.

"Carl Lewis, the Son of the Wind, is a tremendous athlete and icon of the sports world," the Panam Sports President said.

"For us it is a tremendous honour to have him here.

"I understand that he comes with an athlete that he is training.

"We are going to have many surprises,

"Carl is one of the first that we are announcing, but great universal stars of worldwide and Olympic sports are going to come, so get ready."

Although preparations for Santiago 2023 have been hampered by an increase in budget, delays in preparations and an investigation into possible irregularities in the running of the event, the Pan American Games are scheduled to take place as planned from October 20 to November 5, followed by the Parapan American Games from November 17 to 26.