Jesse Owens "He had nothing to lose .... then won everything" - Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens, also known as "The Buckeye Bullet," was born on September 12, 1913, in Oakville, Alabama. In high school, he won three track and field events at the 1933 National Interscholastic Championships. Two years later, while competing for Ohio State University, he equaled one world record and broke three others. In 1936 Owens won four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin. Owens died from cancer on March 31, 1980.

Republican President Gerald Ford delivery Jesse Owens the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1971

At East Technical High School, Owens quickly made a name for himself as a nationally recognized sprinter, setting records in the 100 and 200-yard dashes as well as the long jump. After graduating, Owens enrolled at The Ohio State University ,where he continued to flourish as an athlete.

At the 1935 Big Ten Championships, the "Buckeye Bullet," as he was also known, overcame a severe tailbone injury and tied a world record in the 100-yard dash—and set a long jump record of 26-8 ¼ that would stand for 25 years. Owens also set new world marks in the 220-yard dash and in the 220-yard low hurdles.

Jesse Owens crossing the finish line at the Big Ten Track and Field Championships, 1935

His dominance at the Big Ten games was par for the course for Owens that year, which saw him win four events at the NCAA Championships, two events at the AAU Championships and three others at the Olympic trials. In all, Owens competed in 42 events that year, winning them all.

For Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were expected to be a German showcase and a statement for Aryan supremacy. Most notably, Hitler lambasted America for including black athletes on its Olympic roster.

Poster commemorating the Berlin Olympics of 1936

But it was the African-American participants who helped cement America's success at the Olympic Games. In all, the United States won 11 gold medals, six of them by black athletes. Owens was easily the most dominant athlete to compete. He captured four gold medals (the 100 meter, the long jump, the 200 meter and the 400-meter relay), and broke two Olympic records along the way. Owens record for the world broad jump would last 25 years until being broken by Olympian Irvin Roberson in 1960. After Owens won the 100-meter event, a furious Hitler stormed out of the stadium, though some reports indicate that Hitler later congratulated the athlete on his success.

35 years after his death, Race - the color of victory tells the story of Jesse Owens. Race - The winning color is currently the only biopic about the hero of the 1936 Berlin Games, Jesse Owens, who managed to get on the screen

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.