Happy 100th Jesse!

OSUStu's picture
September 12, 2013 at 3:36p

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.


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OSUStu's picture

Apologies on the giant photographic.  It won't resize for some reason.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

wolfman's picture

No apologies needed!  Bravo!

AndyVance's picture

Jesse Owens was a helluva man. This picture says quite a bit about his legend:

NPR did an interesting piece about the oak trees. One of them is apparently still standing at Rhodes High School in Cleveland, where Owens trained.

While this tree is a part of history, what happened to Owens' other oaks is probably better thought of as legend. Some say one died. The University of Southern California had an oak in honor of the 4x100 meter relay team, on which Owens won his fourth medal.
Another tree was said to be planted at the Cleveland home of Jesse Owens' mother, but it fell when the house came down in the 1960s. And in the film Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin, Owens himself explains that there's one more.
"And one stands among the cherished mementos on All-American Row at Ohio State University, where I spent my college days," he says in the film.
But there is no oak at Ohio State's All-American Row on the Columbus campus, and the school has no record of Owens ever planting a tree there.

Even so, the tree you mentioned has long been rumored to be one of Owens' trees. The 2011 NPR piece indicated that OSU arborists were working to confirm if the tree was indeed related to the Rhodes Oak in Cleveland, given that the tree was of the correct type and age to be one of the "Owens Oaks." I can't find any confirmation that they were able to authenticate the tree, however.

Sgt. Elias's picture

Jesse lording over soon-to-be defeated axis power representatives like a boss: priceless. 

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

OSUStu's picture

Since everyone likes gifs, here is a little taste of his greatness.
Berlin 1936:

Long jump:

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Keith's picture

Highly recommended read about Mr. Owens would be Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics.  I learned a lot and came away knowing him much better.  What a great man to admire.  
Plus, I was absolutely shocked to learn about Eulace Peacock and sympathetic to his story.  Who?  Read the book.  


Shayla39's picture

Class man and I love what he did in front of Hitler!

pjtobin's picture

The more I learn the more I respect this great man. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.