Jesse Owens

by Gregorio from Sanford

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Jesse Owens was a record breaker, and he accomplished many things. He broke a record with a tail bone injury, and he won many gold medals in the Olympic games. He became a legend.

Jesse was born on September 12, 1913 in Alabama. He was a grandson of a slave and his father was a sharecropper. Jesse was a sick child with chronic bronchial problems and pneumonia. He helped his parents with work. He had to carry 200 pounds of cotton a day. Also he helped pay for food and water for the whole family. At age 9 he moved to Ohio and went to school there, but he was treated differently and the school was bigger and more strict. One day a teacher asked him his name and he said, "My name is J.C.," but the teacher thought he said "Jesse" and the name stuck with Jesse all of his life. Jesse then attended East Technical High School. At East Technical High School, he made a career as a sprinter. He broke many records in the 100 yard dash as well as the long jump

After getting out of high school he went to the Ohio State University. He went to many events like the 1935 Big Ten championship, where he broke a 100 yard dash record, overcoming a tail bone injury. Also, he set a record at the long jump. It was 28 ft. That record would not be broken for 25 years. He made more world records in the 220 yard dash and in the 220 yard low hurdles. Also, he went to 24 events and won them all. he went to 2 AAU Championships. He competed in 42 events and won all of them.

The next big event was the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany. Adolph Hitler wanted to prove that the whites were the best race. He criticized America for sending black athletes, but it was the black athletes who led to America's success at the games. The United States of America won 11 gold medals, and 6 of them were won by African American athletes. Jesse Owens dominated the games. He won four gold medals (in the 100 meter, the long jump, and in both the 200 meter and the 400 meter relays), and Hitler was shocked that his best athletes were beaten by Jesse. Hitler did not shake Jesse's hand.

After he played in the Olympic Games, he made more records. He even beat a horse and a car in a foot race! He made more money because every time he beat a record he earned more money. After the games he went to see the President of the United States of America. In 1976, President Gerald Ford awarded him the Medal of Freedom. He was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. On March 13, 1980, Jesse died from lung cancer because he smoked many cigarettes. Many people admired him, and many people think that he was one of the best athletes in American history.

Page created on 2/3/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/3/2014 12:00:00 AM

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