We're down to the Final Four of the 11W Heart of It All Classic. 71,000 votes have been recorded and you've picked Bob Hope, the Wright brothers, Jesse Owens and Ulysses S. Grant as the Ohioans to emerge as champions of The Arts, Business & Science, Sports and Politics & Military regions, respectively.
The Elite 8 saw the closest voting of the tournament, with the Wright brothers knocking off Thomas Edison, Hope defeating Paul Newman, Grant edging his colleague William Tecumseh Sherman, and Owens topping the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus.
Final Four voting won't be easy. One matchup features Hope vs. the Wright brothers, while the other contest will be between Owens and Grant.
The polls for this round will close at 12 a.m. Sunday, April 6, with voting for the final four set to open Monday morning.
#1 Bob Hope vs. #3 Wright Bros.
Bob Hope (The Arts Region): Bob Hope was born in London, England in 1903, but like so many others, soon made his way to the United States via Ellis Island in 1908.
His family would settle in Cleveland and Hope was already entertaining streetcar patrons by the age of 12. When his 60-year career came to an end, Hope had appeared in 70 films, hosted the Academy Awards 14 times and earned "honorary veteran" status in the U.S. military thanks to his extensive work with the USO.
Hope rolled No. 16 R.L. Stine, taking 86% of the vote in the opening round. He'd follow it up with easy wins over No. 8 Halle Berry (83%) in the second round and No. 4 Dean Martin (78%) in the Sweet 16. In The Arts region finals, Hope defeated No. 3 Paul Newman with 59% of the vote.
The Wright Brothers (Business & Science Region): Thanks to these two brothers from Dayton, the state of Ohio can slap "Birthplace of Aviation" on anything it damn well pleases (and it does).
Working out of their bicycle shop, the Wright brothers designed and built the world's first successful airplane and later made the first controlled, powered and "sustained heavier-than-air human flight."
The Wright brothers have steamrolled everyone in their path on the way to the Elite 8. In the opener, they crushed No. 14 Roger Ailes, taking 97% of the vote. In the second round, they destroyed No. 11 William Procter, hauling in 94% of the vote. As an underdog in the Sweet 16, the Wright brothers upset No. 2 John D. Rockefeller by a 3-to-1 margin. The Wright brothers upset No. 1 Thomas Edison in the finals of the Business & Science region with 58% of the vote.
#1 Jesse Owens vs. #1 Ulysses S. Grant
Jesse Owens (Sports Region): The "Buckeye Bullet," as he was known, was the most dominant track and field athlete of the 20th century (sorry, Carl Lewis).
As a senior in high school, Owens tied the national record for the 100, famously set four world records in 45 minutes at a meet in Ann Arbor (where the Wolverines honor his performance with a monument), won a record eight individual NCAA championships – four each in 1935 and '36 – and then topped it all by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Owens has dominated this tournament, crushing No. 16 Branch Rickey (98%) in the opening round, No. 8 Jerry Lucas (95%) in the second round and then the patron saint of Ohio State football, No. 4 Woody Hayes (72%) in the Sweet 16. In the Sports region finals, Owens handily defeated No. 2 Jack Nicklaus, earning 73% of the vote.
Ulysses S. Grant (Politics & Military Region): Born in Mount Pleasant, Ohio in 1822, Grant would become the Supreme Commander of the United States Army, and led the Union Army to victory over the Confederate States Army in the Civil War.
He's the only man to ever force the surrender of an army of the United States (semantics), and is the reason students in the South don't pledge allegiance to the Stars and Bars today.
Following his military career, Grant won election to the White House, becoming this nation's 18th president. Today, we honor him with the fifty-dollar bill.
Grant rolled No. 9 Paul Tibbets of Enola Gay fame in the opener, with 95% of the vote. He followed that up with easy wins over No. 8 William Howard Taft (89%) in the second round and No. 4 Tecumseh (76%) in the Sweet 16. In the final of the Politics & Military region, Grant rolled his buddy, No. 2 William Tecumseh Sherman, with 67% of the vote.