Rapid Ray was the first Canadian born black athlete to represent Canada at the Olympics.

The Hamilton resident overcame racism and poverty to win a bronze medal in the 4×400 relay at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932. He also ran the 440-yard race at the British Empire Games of 1934 in London.

Lewis began his illustrious track and field career at Central Collegiate where he set four Canadian high school records in one day in 1929. He set new marks in the 100, 200, and 440-yard dashes plus as an anchor in the one-mile relay.

After briefly attending Marquette University in the U.S. Lewis returned to Canada during the depression and went to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a porter. He often trained by running up and down the track while trains were stopped on the Prairies.