In more modern Olympic games, the track and field events have shown the world record breaking times, fierce competition, and the joys and agonies of winning and losing. While the athletic aspects of track and field events are always spectacular, we often forget about the progression and positive growth that certain Olympic games have provided for the world. Before such great names as Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis, Gail Devers, Justin Gatlin, and Sanya Richards-Ross, there was an American track and field athlete who changed the course of Olympic History.
Jesse Owens is without a doubt one of the most famous names in the Olympic track and field events. Once considered the fastest man in the world, Owens participated in the 1936 Olympic Games in the Nazi occupied city of Berlin, Germany. Under the veil of white nationalism and the watchful gaze of the infamous dictator Adolf Hitler, the African-American track and field star won gold in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, and the long jump. Among these gold metals were also several world records. Jesse Owens not only displayed to the Nazis, but also the segregated United States, that a negro athlete could out-perform white athletes from all over the world. The victories of Jesse Owens proved that there was no dominant color or superior ethnicity in sports.
We celebrate Jesse Owens, and salute his historic strides in ending racism.