Jesse Owens Birthday (September 12th)

Jesse Owens Birthday (September 12th)

Jesse Owens (1913-1980), was an American athletics star. He show during the mid-1930's in university and in the Olympic Games made him one of the most celebrated athletes in sports history. Being an American track-and-field sportsperson, Jesse Owens set a world record in the running broad jump often referred as long jump that stood for 25 years and also won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.His four Olympic victories were a blow to Adolph Hitler's purpose to use the Games to display Aryan dominance.

Jesse Owens Early Days

James Cleveland Owens was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, in the Oakville community, to Henry and Emma Owens. When he was nine, his father moved to the Glenville sector of Cleveland, Ohio. Owens was the grandson of a slave and the son of a sharecropper. He was given the name Jesse by a teacher in Cleveland who did not comprehend his country accent when the little child said Jesse Owens was called J.C.

As a scholar in a Cleveland, Ohio, high school, he won three events at the 1933 National Interscholastic Championships in Chicago. In one day, May 25, 1935, while competing for Ohio StateUniversity (Columbus) in a Western (later Big Ten) Conference track-and-field meet at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), he shared 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 [26.67 feet]).

Jesse Owens at Berlin Olympics

Jesse Owens's performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics has become prodigy, both for his brilliant gold-medal hard work 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 meters [26.4 feet]), and the 4 100-metre relay (39.8 sec) and for proceedings away from the track. One popular account that took place from his triumph was that of the “ignorance,” the view that Hitler declined to shake hands with Owens because he was an African American. In truth, by the second day of competition, when he won the 100-metre final, Hitler had determined to no longer openly praise 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 departing the stadium after the German contestants were eliminated from the day's final event, persisted that the German chancellor congratulate all or none of the winners. Uninformed of  the situation, American papers reported the “snub,” and the myth grew over the years.

In spite of the politically charged feeling of the Berlin Games, Owens was acclaimed by the German public, and it was German long jumper Carl Ludwig (“Luz”) Long who gave support to Owens through a bad start in the long jump competition. He was worried to learn that what he had thought was a practice jump had been added up as his first attempt. Unsettled, his foot-faulted the second shot. Before Owens's last jump, long recommended that the American place a towel in front of the take-off board. Leaping from that point, he eligible for the finals, ultimately defeated Long (later his close friend) for the gold.

For a time, he held alone or shared the world records for all sprint distances accepted by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF; later International Association of Athletics Federations). Owens set seven world records all through his career.

Jesse Owens Retirement

After retiring from competitive track, he was occupied in boys' supervision activities, made friendliness 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 civic relationships.

He was introduced to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1970. He was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976 by Gerald Ford and (posthumously) the Congressional Gold Medal by George H. W. Bush on March 28, 1990. In 1984, a road in Berlin was renamed for him, and the Jesse Owens Realschule (a secondary school) is in Berlin-Lichtenberg. His hometown in Oakville devoted a park in his honor in 1996, at the same time the Olympic Torch came through the society, 60 years subsequent to his Olympic victory. The Ohio State University dedicated The Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for track and field events, in 2001.

A pack-a-day smoker for 35 years, he died of lung cancer at age 66 in Tucson, Arizona in 1980. He is buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.

Jesse Owens Personal Life and Family

Jesse Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon met at Fairmount Junior High School in Cleveland when he was 15-years-old and Ruth was 13-years-old. They dated progressively all the way through high school and Ruth gave birth to their first baby daughter, Gloria, in 1932. They were wedded in 1935 and had two more daughters: Marlene, born in 1937, and Beverly, born in 1940.