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Jesse Owens' 100m Berlin Olympic Gold anniversary today
Jesse Owens (1913 - 1980) of the USA (right) crosses the finishing line to win the 100 metres at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He won three other gold medals, in the 200 metres, 4 X 100 metres relay and long jump. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
 

LAUSANNE, August 3, 2009 - Exactly 73 years ago today with a time of 10.3 seconds Jesse Owens stunned the world by winning the 1936 Berlin Olympic 100m final.

Owens beat fellow African-American Ralph Metcalfe to win the Olympic gold in what have gone down in history as one of the most controversial games due to Adolf Hitler's Aryan supremacy propaganda.

He also won gold in the Men's 200m, Men's  4x100m Relay and the Men's Long Jump.

ESPN's Larry Schwartz writes:

"In a 1950 Associated Press poll, he was voted the greatest track and field star for the first half of century, outpolling Jim Thorpe by almost three to one.

In 1976, President Ford presented Owens with the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the U.S. can bestow upon a civilian.

Owens, a-pack-a-day smoker for 35 years, died of lung cancer at age 66 on March 31, 1980 in Tucson, Ariz.

Four years later, a street in Berlin was renamed in his honor.

A decade after his death, President Bush posthumously awarded Owens the Congressional Medal of Honor. Bush called his victories in Berlin "an unrivaled athletic triumph, but more than that, a triumph for all humanity."

Please click here to watch Owens competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.

 

 
 
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