Jesse Owens Gold Medal Olympic Champion
The Early Years • Owens was born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama. • He was the tenth child born to sharecroppers, Harry and Mary Owens. • As a child Owens was frail and sickly and suffered regularly from bronchitis and pneumonia.
The Early Years • At the age of seven, Owens moved to Cleveland with his parents. • There he worked as a gas station attendant in order to help support his family.
High School • Jesse Owens was an All-American athlete in high school. • He broke his first world record at the young age of 15.
College Life • Owens attended Ohio State University from 1933-1936 and was their number one track and field athlete. • At a 1936 college meet in Michigan he broke three world records and tied one in just 45 minutes.
Olympics • At the 1936 summer Olympics, Owens won gold medals in these four events: 100 meter dash long jump 200 meter dash 400 meter relay
Olympics • Also at the 1936 summer Olympics, Owens set the Olympic record in the 200 meter with a time of 20.7 seconds, in the long jump with a distance of 26 ¼ inches, and in the 400 meter relay with a time of 39.8 seconds. • His 400 meter relay time also set a world record, and his 100 meter dash time of 10.3 seconds tied the world record. • Owens is the first track star to win four gold medals in one Olympics.
Achievements off the Track • In the early 1950’s Owens was the Sports Specialist of the State of Illinois 19th Commission. • In 1976, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House. • Owens always stayed honest and sincere, which increased his popularity with fans.
Retirement • After retiring from sports, Owens got a career in public relations. • Owens believed that athletics and competition could solve racial and political problems. • He traveled widely giving speeches about clean living, fair play, and patriotism. • Owens also worked in community service, mainly working with the youth. • However Owens was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer on March 31, 1980.