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Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens3.jpg
Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin
Personal information
Full name James Cleveland Owens
Born September 12, 1913
Oakville, Alabama, U.S.
Died March 31, 1980(1980-03-31) (aged 66)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Education Ohio State University, Fairmont Junior High School, East Technical High School
Height 5 ft 10 34 in (180 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Sport
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Sprint, Long jump

James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens, (September 12, 1913 - March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Games.

Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history". His achievement of setting three world records and tying another in less than an hour at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been called "the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport" and has never been equalled.

Jesse Owens Congressional Gold Medal
Jesse Owens Congressional Gold Medal (front)

At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 × 100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the Games.

The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field's highest accolade for the year's best track and field athlete. Owens was ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century and the highest-ranked in his sport. In 1999 he was on the six-man shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century.

Death

Jesse Owens Congressional Gold Medal (reverse)
Jesse Owens Congressional Gold Medal (reverse)

Owens was a pack-a-day cigarette smoker for 35 years, having started at age 32. Beginning in December 1979, he was hospitalized on and off with a type of lung cancer. He died of the disease at age 66 in Tucson, Arizona, on March 31, 1980, with his wife and other family members at his bedside.

He was buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. Jimmy Carter, the President at the time issued a tribute to Owens after he died: "Perhaps no athlete better symbolized the human struggle against tyranny, poverty and racial bigotry."

The dormitory that Owens occupied during the Berlin Olympics has been fully restored into a living museum, with pictures of his accomplishments at the games.

Images for kids


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