Jesse Owens: Champion Athlete (Black Americans of by Tony Gentry

By Tony Gentry

-- significantly acclaimed biographies of history's such a lot remarkable African-Americans-- basic and target writing-- Lavishly illustrated with photos and memorabilia-- crucial for multicultural reports

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The International Olympic Committee opted to keep the Games in Berlin but promised to maintain close supervision of the events, and finally the American team agreed to participate. In the end, the 1936 Games drew more countries and hosted more athletes than any previous Olympics. Under Hitler’s direction, the Berlin events were staged on a massive scale. His Third Reich spent nearly $25 million to build extraordinary facilities, including a 100,000-seat Olympic stadium and a 20,000-seat swimming venue, as well as a modern, comfortable Olympic village for the athletes—the first of its kind and a tradition that would be followed in future Olympics.

With autumn approaching, the old coach prepared to say farewell to his surrogate son. Pop Riley had started Owens out on the road to glory, instilling in him a will to win and humility toward the tasks that would face him in the years ahead. Owens was 19 years old, already arguably the world’s fastest human. The rest would be up to him. q 30/11/04 14:54 Page 24 4 Countdown to the Olympics Jesse Owens was among the handful of blacks that enrolled in an American university in 1933, when the Great Depression caused an unusually low percentage of high school graduates to enter college.

When he ran, still wearing his sweat suit, through the long-jump pit to gauge the steps for his first leap, he was shocked to discover that the judges counted the run-through as his first attempt. Then, when he did jump, they said he had committed a foul by stepping over the takeoff board and disqualified the leap. Now the pressure was on, and suddenly the power of concentration that had helped make Owens such a formidable competitor deserted him. q 30/11/04 14:55 Page 43 The Dream Come True recalled that this was the most frightening moment of his career: “I fought, fought hard, harder .

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