Jesse Owens Essay

Good Essays

One of the most influential events in American history occurred when Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. This accomplishment and others that he would achieve in his life time, were inspiring given the historical context in which he rose to fame. Jesse Owens created a historic legacy not just because of his record finishes on the track, but also due to the challenging times in which he competed.

Jesse Owens was born on September 12, 1913, in Oakville, Alabama. Jesse’s father was a sharecropper which meant he was paid to farm other peoples’ land. Jesse had six siblings who picked cotton with him on a rich man’s farm in Alabama when they were young. At age nine the Owens family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Jesse …show more content…

That day he won four events, set three world records, and he tied a fourth record all in forty-five minutes. He tied the world record by running the one hundred yard dash in nine point four-seconds. He then broke a world record by jumping twenty-six feet eight and one quarter inches in the long jump. Later, he finished the two hundred twenty yard dash in twenty point three-seconds for another world record. That same day, he broke a third world record by finishing the two hundred twenty yard low hurdle race in twenty-two point six seconds.(Shwartz 1) He was so outstanding at track and field, that during his junior year of college he won every single one of the forty-two events in which he competed. Three of those events were Olympic trials for the 1936 Olympics (“About Jesse Owens” 3) guarantying that he would be going to Berlin to compete for a medal.

The 1936 Olympic games took place in Berlin, Germany, when Jesse Owens was twenty-two. At that time, Adolf Hitler was the ruler of Germany. Hitler believed that the German or “Aryan” race was superior to all others and he intended to prove it in the Olympics. He did not approve of the Americans having black or Jewish athletes. The Olympics began on August 1, 1936.(Raatma 23) The first event that Jesse Owens competed in was the 100 yard dash on August 3. He finished first in ten point three-seconds, winning his first gold medal, which tied an Olympic world record

Get Access