Jesse Owens

by Connor from Leawood

James Cleveland Owens was born in Alabama on September, 12, 1913. He was the son of Henry and Emma Alexander Owens. He was called J.C until he was nine when his school teacher gave him the nickname Jesse, which was the name that would soon be known around the world.

           Jesse's track career really began when he set junior high records in high jump and broad jump. In high school he set world records in the 100 yard dash and the 220 yard dash.  In high school he won all of the major track events including the Ohio State Championships three years in a row. At a meet in Chicago he set a new record in the 100 yard dash by running it in 9.4 seconds. He also created a new high school world record in the 220 yard dash. He was recruited by many colleges and even though Ohio State did not offer him a scholarship he still chose to attend school there.

        In college Jesse worked four jobs to support him and his young wife, Ruth. "He worked as a night elevator operator, a waiter, he pumped gas, worked in the library stacks, and served a stint as a page in the Ohio Statehouse." (JESSEOWENS.COM) I think this showed an extreme amount of responsibility considering he did that in between practice, school, and setting world records on the track.

        In Jesse's life he showed perseverance in a lot of the things he did. The most notable one was when he won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. During that time Germany was under Nazi rule. The Nazis hated anyone who was of another race other than the Aryan race. They wanted everyone to believe that the Aryan race (White Germans) was the best at everything. Hitler thought the Olympics would prove that. So when Jesse Owens won four gold medals he showed the world that anyone can be successful and showed the world that racial segregation is wrong.

        During Jesse's post-Olympic career he spent a lot of time helping underprivileged kids. This showed an extreme amount of compassion.  For these reasons I think Jesse Owens is and should be forever remembered as an American Hero.   

Page created on 9/5/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/5/2012 12:00:00 AM

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Jesse Owens Trust c/. "Jesse Owens." [Online] Available

A+E Networks. "Jesse Owens Biography." [Online] Available