Following an extraordinary high school track and field career, Jesse Owens attended Ohio State University where he won a record 8 individual NCAA championships in various events; even though he had to live in separate off-campus African-American housing and could not even stay or eat with the white members of his team while traveling.
At the Berlin Olympics of 1936, buffeted by racial and political turmoil, Jesse Owens won four gold medals and set world records in the long jump and 100-meter dash—all to the great displeasure of his Nazi hosts.
Jesse Owens’ performance set the standard for Olympic achievement to which all those who followed have aspired. Once retired from competition, Owens became an international ambassador for sports and goodwill.
Photo courtesy of Hard Road to Glory, AP/Worldwide Photos