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Sports Hall of Fame

Jesse OwensJesse Owens

Though Jesse Owens may be one of the greatest and most decorated track and field athletes in history his greatest achievement might just be making Adolf Hitler look like a fool during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Hitler was using the games to show off the Aryan race for having the greatest athletes in the world but Owens, a black man from Oakville, Alabama, completely ruined that for him. In those games, Owens won four gold medals, coming in first in the 100- and 200-meter dash, the long jump and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. No athlete has has more success than he did in 1936. But he was not just a flash in the pan who used Hitler’s racism as motivation, he was a guy that every American knew was capable of winning big. Owens was always a great athlete and in High School he equaled the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-meter dash and hit a mark of 24 foot, 9.5 inches in the long jump. Owens continued his track and field career at Ohio State and won eight individual NCAA Championship, four in 1935 and four more in 1936. At the Big Ten champion meet, Owens set three world records and tied another in a 45 minute span. He hit 26 feet, 8.25 inches in the long jump, ran the 220-yard sprint in 20.3 seconds and 220-yard low hurdles in 22.6 seconds. He matched is 9.4 record in the 100-yard dash. This is still widely regarded as the most impressive athletic feat in history.

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