Biography of Famous Olympic Track and Field Athlete Jesse Owens

About the biography of the famous olympic track and field athlete Jesse Owens, history and information.

Jesse Owens

He ran and jumped 25 years ahead of his time. The records he set in the Olympic Games of 1936 held up for 2 decades or more. In one meet in college competition, he broke 5 world records and tied a 6th--all in about one hour flat.

Jesse Owens was born in 1913 in Danville, Ala., the son of a sharecropper. While attending East Technical High School in Cleveland, O., he ran the 100-m. in 10.3, the 100-yd. dash in 9.4 (an American high school record not equaled until 1954) and the 220-yd. dash in 20.7.

He reached the zenith of his carrer in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics. Adolf Hitler had declared that the new Olympic Stadium was to become a temple to Aryan supremacy. Over 110,000 spectators gathered to witness the triumph of the "new Reich." Then Jesse Owens went into action. He broke the Olympic record in the semifinals of the 100-m. at 10.2, a mark later disallowed because of wind. In the following days he won the 100-m., tying the Olympic and World's records at 10.3; set a new Olympic record in the long jump at 26'5 1/4"; broke the Olympic and World records in the 200-m. on a turn with 20.7; and helped the 400-m. relay team set an Olympic and world record with 39.8.

But this remarkable athlete's greatest day on a track had probably come a year earlier, on May 25, 1935, when as a sophomore he represented Ohio State in a championship meet against Michigan in Ann Arbor. Owens tied the world's record for the 100-yd. at 9.4 and set new world's records in the long jump, at 26'8 1/4"; the 220-yd. low hurdles, straight, at 22.6; and the 220-yd., straight, at 20.3. Under a new rule, Jesse's 220-yd. marks were also accepted as world's records for the 200-m. dash and hurdles. So in one hour or so that day, Jesse Owens broke 5 world's records and tied a 6th.

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