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Jesse Owens Wins Four Gold Medals


On August 9, 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal of the Olympic Games in Berlin. This was significant because it showed the world that Germany's doctrine of supposed Aryan superiority was suspect.

Owens had earlier won the 100 meters, 200 meters, and broad jump, setting world records in all three. His last gold medal was in the 4x100-meter relay, and his team set a world record there as well.

The son of sharecroppers, Jesse Owens grew up to be a major track star, in high school in Cleveland and then at Ohio State University. In a single day of competition--May 25, 1935--Owens broke the world records for the 220-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles, and the running broad jump, and then equaled the world record for the 100-yard dash.

The next summer, he was in Berlin, along with 17 other African-Americans, demonstrating to German leader Adolf Hitler and everyone else the fallibility of the "Master Race" theory.


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