Jesse Owens Made History, Breaking Five World Records in Span of 45 Minutes

American News Hard News Interesting

Jesse Owens set a world record in the running broad jump (also called long jump) that stood for 25 years and won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. His four Olympic victories were a blow to Adolf Hitler’s intention to use the Games to demonstrate Aryan superiority.

As a student in a Cleveland high school, Owens won three events at the 1933 National Interscholastic Championships in Chicago. On May 25th in 1935, while competing in a Big Ten track-and-field meet at the University of Michigan, Owens equaled the world record for the 100-yard dash (9.4 sec) and broke the world records for the 220-yard dash (20.3 sec), the 220-yard low hurdles (22.6 sec), and the long jump (8.13 meters).

Owens’s performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics has become legend, both for his brilliant gold-medal efforts in the 100-metre run (10.3 sec, an Olympic record), the 200-metre run (20.7 sec, a world record), the long jump (8.06 metres [26.4 feet]), and the 4 × 100-metre relay (39.8 sec) and for events away from the track.

One popular tale that arose from Owens’s victories was that of the “snub,” the notion that Hitler refused to shake hands with Owens because he was an African American. In truth, by the second day of competition, when Owens won the 100-metre final, Hitler had decided to no longer publicly congratulate any of the athletes. The previous day the International Olympic Committee president, angry that Hitler had publicly congratulated only a few German and Finnish winners before leaving the stadium after the German competitors were eliminated from the day’s final event, insisted that the German chancellor congratulate all or none of the victors. Unaware of the situation, American papers reported the “snub,” and the myth grew over the years.

For a time, Owens held alone or shared the world records for all sprint distances recognized by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. After retiring from competitive track, Owens engaged in boys’ guidance activities, made goodwill visits to India and East Asia for the U.S. Department of State, served as secretary of the Illinois State Athletic Commission, and worked in public relations. In 1976 Owens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1990 he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

This is comprised of information and media from the Associated Press and Brittanica com- for more pro, college and high school sports stories, like our page on Facebook.

Leave a Reply