Jesse Owens By: Grace DiMeo

Personal Life

Jesse Owens, was originally named James Cleveland. He was the grandson of a slave and the son of Henry and Emma Alexander Owens. He was born in Alabama on September 12, 1913. He was the seventh child three sisters and 3 brothers. He got his nickname by the mis-pronunciation his grade school teacher. When taking attendance she called him "J.C" but he heard Jesse Cleveland. This then became his name and even went down in history along with his gold metals.


At Ohio State University, he won 42 events, Big Ben, NCAA, AUU, Championships. Then three at the Olympic Trials.

On May 25, 1935, He broke three world records the long jump, 220-yard dash, 220-yard low hurdles, and tied a fourth at the 100 -yard dash.

In 1936, Jesse became the first American in Olympic Track and Field history to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad. He won four gold medals.

In 1976, The Presidential Medal of Freedom was given to him by Gerald Ford. This was the highest award that a civilian could earn.

Championships and Records

Championships and medals are more important than records because as a champion and a medal holder, it is a souvenir personal to you. A record will go down in history but it can always be broken. A champion like Jessie Owens took home four gold medals in which is his to keep forever. The medals cannot be replaced or claimed by anyone else. "For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world." - Jessie Owens

Bravery and change

It was courageous for him to compete in the games because there was such a big epidemic, such as civil rights, and Germany's reign. He was a colored male which meant he was oppressed and fighting for his rights in America and didn't fit as the ideal race according to the Germans. By running in the Olympics he face these issues head on and defeated all the doubt and was able to prove the Germans wrong.

Jessie Owens was able to combat racism in America because as a colored male he was able to defeat the Germans in the olympics. He also represented the black community and heir potential. He could combat the Nazi ideology because he defeated their Olympic runners in their capital city, Berlin. By doing this he said that it doesn't matter the color of your skin or your eyes, anyone could win. He beat the Nazis and was announced an American hero.

If It Were Me...

I would go into the olympics because the amount of dedication I have put into my passion will not be in vain. I would go because I do not fit the German "ideal race". If I were to win the olympics I would prove the Germans wrong. In America, the people will see that anyone could make miracles happen, no matter what race, or gender. Not only that but being legible to be able to participate in such a game is a honor in its self.

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