Jesse Owens was born on this day in 1913 which would make today his 100th birthday. Let us take a minute to remember one of The Ohio State University's and America's greatest athletes and a hero that transcended the world of sports, a man that stood tall in the face of racism, fascism, and oppression.
I won't attempt to produce my own history of Jesse as so many have already done a better job. Here are some good ones:
It is impossible to define Jesse Owens with mere numbers, for it would suggest that a life story so consequential could be told fully in quantifiable terms.
Yet a number is at the genesis of this remembrance, so it would not be wrong to begin with a few more to give perspective on just how extraordinary Owens was in simply athletic terms — for his time and for all time.
The 100th anniversary of his birth is Sept. 12. For one-fourth of that time, 25 years, his long jump of 26 feet, 81/4 inches at the 1935 Big Ten championships stood as the world record.
No track and field world record other than those set in the doping Wild West era of the 1980s has lasted as long.
Even more remarkable: At the 2012 Olympics, only two men jumped farther than Owens had on May 25, 1935.
And that jump distance was only one of the stunning numbers that record Owens' achievements during the greatest day any person ever had in the nearly 3,000-year history of track and field.
In just 75 minutes, the Ohio State sophomore won the long jump, 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash and 220-yard hurdles. He broke five world records (in the longer races, he ran faster than the times for the metric equivalents) and tied one, in the 100, where his time of 9.4 seconds would not be bettered for 13 years.
Biography.com article: http://www.biography.com/people/jesse-owens-9431142?page=2#later-years
This PBS Documentary is definitely worth the hour to watch: http://video.pbs.org/video/2229413590/
ESPN Classic article: http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Owens_Jesse.html
Jesse Owen's Grave at Oak Woods Cemetary, Chicago, IL
English Oak on Ohio State's campus believed to be one of the four saplings presented to Jesse for each of his four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.