The above photo is of the legendary American sprinter, Jesse Owens, in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics. Despite Hitler's wild boasts of the supremacy of "Aryan" genetics. He was sure that his "Master race" would walk away with a huge share of the medals. As the photo above shows, it did not work out that way. (Photo credit, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license, specific attribution: Bundesarchive, Bild 183-G00630/CC-BY-SA.)
Hitler refused to shake Owens' hand (so much for that sportsmanship bit and being a good host). It is worth noting that Owens received some friendly advice from a German athlete, Luz Long. That advice might very well have lifted Owens to one of his four medals. One of his competitors in that event- Luz Long.
Owens accomplishments were more than a display of athletic ability. They were a renunciation of the twisted logic and junk science of the Nazis. On the track, propaganda goes out the window, it's pure ability. Oh, and there were no syringes to have to get rid of.
It is good to celebrate the amazing achievements of Jesse Owens. He was a class act. As we look back on these Olympics held 77 years ago this week, we can all take pride in how Owens proved how wrong Hitler was. Master race, huh? Well, judging by the photo above, Looks like the bronze for you, superman.
...then there was what happened when Owens got home. From having to ride the service elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to get to his own reception to FDR's silence in congratulating him, prejudice was alive and well in the United States. Owens summed up the situation when he said, Hitler didn't snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram."
Owens was eventually given the status his accomplishments warranted, including being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990. Too bad it came a decade after he died.
Thanks Mr. Owens for what you did for us in Berlin. Thanks also for your legacy and reminding us what the thrill of victory is all about. It would have been nice if everyone would have been so willing to celebrate it then as they are now.
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Be well my friends, enjoy the weekend and get outside!