Jesse Owens

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Owens, Jesse

Owens, Jesse, 1913–80, U.S. track star, b. Alabama. He was also called John Cleveland Owens, although his original name was said to be simply J. C. Owens. After his family moved to Cleveland he excelled at track and field events in high school. He won the broad-jump titles at the outdoor (1933–34) and indoor (1934–35) meets of the National Amateur Athletic Union, and while on the track team of Ohio State Univ., he broke (1935–36) several world records at broad jumping, hurdle racing, and flat racing. At the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, Owens astounded the world and upset Hitler's “Aryan” theories by equaling the world mark (10.3 sec) in the 100-meter race, by breaking world records in the 200-meter race (20.7 sec) and in the broad jump (26 ft 53-8 in./8.07 m) and by winning also (along with Ralph Metcalfe and others) the 4×100-meter relay race. His records lasted for more than 20 years. Owens later participated in professional exhibitions and in various business enterprises. He was secretary of the Illinois Athletic commission until 1955 and later became active in the Illinois youth commission.


See his semiautobiographical Blackthink: My Life as Black Man and White Man (1970).

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Owens, (James or John Cleveland) Jesse

(1913–80) track and field athlete; born in Danville, Ala. After setting records as a schoolboy athlete in Cleveland, he attended Ohio State University; on one day (May 25, 1935), he set three world records and tied another in the span of about an hour. (His 26 feet 8¼ inch running broad jump was not broken until 1960.) At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, he disproved for the world Adolf Hitler's proclamation of "Aryan supremacy" by achieving the finest one-day performance in track history with four gold medals (100 meters, 200 meters, 4 × 100 meters, running broad jump); Hitler left the stadium to avoid having to congratulate an African-American. Although he gained worldwide publicity for his feat, back in the U.S.A. he gained few financial or social benefits and was reduced to running "freak" races against horses and dogs. After graduating from Ohio State (1937) he went into private business before becoming secretary of the Illinois Athletic Commission (until 1955). He made a goodwill tour of India for the U.S. State Department and attended the 1956 Olympics as President Eisenhower's personal representative. He returned to Illinois to direct youth sports activities for the Illinois Youth Commission. In a belated gesture of national recognition, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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References in periodicals archive ?
She said: "Before the competition, I will also watch the film about Jesse Owens which will motivate me.
BOB BEAMON (United States, athletics) His 29ft 2.5ins long jump in 1968 smashed Jesse Owens's record by more than a foot.
And three films have been competing to get their versions of the Jesse Owens story on to the big screen, recalling his achievements in what is another Olympic year.
The Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder in the decathlon was named the winner of the 2012 Jesse Owens Award on Monday, presented annually by USA Track & Field to the most outstanding male and female track athletes.
However, perhaps the greatest sporting gesture was during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where German long jumper Lutz Long offered rival Jesse Owens technical advice on his runup after the American was in danger of failing to qualify.
The revolutionary track surface at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is the BSS 2000 Resurfacing System.
There was the mention on a couple of occasions of the name Jesse Owens.
Never one to shy away from controversy, Bolt said: "If ever I wanted to be someone, it would be Jesse Owens. I know what I am going to say is going to create some sort of controversy, but I don't care, I will say it.
Grant, William McKinley, and William Howard Taft, and black Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, who frustrated Hitler's plans to showcase "Aryan supremacy" at the 1936 Games in Berlin.
USAIN Bolt will bid for sprint glory in Berlin - in the Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens defied Adolf Hitler and the racist theory of Aryan supremacy.
American athletes will wear the initials "JO" on their uniforms in honor of iconic hero Jesse Owens, who defied onlooking Adolf Hitler in the same stadium by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
THOSE black football players like Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd, who agonise over racist chants and monkey jibes, should ask their coach to invest in an old film of America's greatest black sprinter Jesse Owens in Nazi Germany in 1936 where he let his skills do the talking.