Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Jesse Owens

with 28 comments

Hitler used the 1936 Olympics as a propaganda tool, inadvertently creating the modern Games, complete with torch relays, grand stadiums, publicity films and screens set up outside to transmit the Games. What the Nazis couldn’t stage-manage were the outcomes, and wonderful story of Jesse Owens smashing Hitler’s theories of racial superiority on the 100m sprint is an oft repeated story. (Enthusiastic crowd reaction on this clip suggests that the German people are less Aryan-obsessed than Hitler.Although his coach warned Owens about a potentially hostile crowd, there were German cheers of “Yesseh Oh-vens” or just “Oh-vens” from the crowd. Owens was a true celebrity in Berlin, mobbed by autograph seekers.)

It is oft mentioned that the Nazi leader refused to present Jesse Owens with his medal, shake his hand and subsequently stormed out of the stadium. However, Hitler was not even in the stadium when Jesse Owens was securing his medals, and his absence was more to do with his row with the Olympic organizers than with Owens . Hitler had congratulated German athletes on the first day, only to be informed by the IOC officials that he should congratulate all athletes or none, in order to show neutrality as the presiding head of state. In a characteristic fit of petulance, Hitler refused congratulate anyone after the first day of the competition, not even the German athletes. (Hitler did snub a black American athlete on the first day; just before Cornelius Johnson was to be decorated, Hitler left the stadium.)

Jesse Owens tried his best to correct the myth-making that went on around him: he admitted that he received the greatest ovations of his career at Berlin. he recalled:  “When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing [Hitler] …. Hitler didn’t snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram”. Such was an atmosphere of segregation back in the U.S. that Owens was never invited to the White House to be congratulated. When there was a ticker-tape parade in New York in his honour, he had to attend the reception at the Waldorf-Astoria using the back elevator set aside for blacks. (Even in Berlin, he was allowed to travel and stay together with whites).

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

June 21, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Politics, Society

Tagged with , , ,

28 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The Japanese gentleman with his hat in hand, who appears between Owens and the third placed athlete, is Jigoro Kano, the inventor of Judo.

    Tintin

    June 22, 2010 at 3:37 am

    • Thanks for that. Nice tidbit. He was a heck of an athlete himself.

      PMM

      June 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    • Uhh no it isn’t. Kano Jigoro died in 1938 at the age of 77.

      XYZ

      October 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

      • Luckly the photo was taken in 1936 then…

        bob

        October 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  2. For all the talk of Jesse Owens, forgotten is the fact that German paramilitary sports training did work.The Germans won an incredible 89 medals ( 33 gold, 26 silver, 30 bronze) easily surpassing all participating countries, including the U.S., who finished well off the pace with 56 medals. No other nation even came close; it was sheer domination.

    Also not as well known is that many countries adopted national sports programs after these Olympics, to try and emulate the German successes.

    Kursk

    June 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    • Might they have created an early form of EPO to generate this huge success? There was so many hidden experimental work those days in Germany…

      Ok, just kidding…

      🙂

      P.S.: The areal of the olympic village of 1936 is fading in agony but still to be seen. Great place for nostalgic people and morbide fotoshoots:

      here, here or here.

      Flash

      June 23, 2010 at 2:17 am

    • Ever hear of steroids? And other enhansing drugs? Jesse beat them with his own natural strength.

      freewill2

      February 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      • That what make this amaising is that there is. O drugs usage and even at a time that black were treated unfairly he still respected all other. Now that is a hero beyon all other . Richard Cadotte 2015

        Richard Cadotte

        February 2, 2015 at 8:44 am

  3. A decade ago, when the various sports outlets were debating the “athlete of the century” for the 20th century, I had hoped they would choose Jesse Owens.

    Howard

    June 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

  4. Excellent post! Pretty amazing when you juxtapose America with Nazi Germany like that.

    Parker

    June 24, 2010 at 9:59 am

  5. While we are “correct[ing] the myth-making”, why don’t we correct the myths in this very story?
    “What the Nazis couldn’t stage-manage were the outcomes, and wonderful story of Jesse Owens smashing Hitler’s theories of racial superiority on the 100m sprint is an oft repeated story.”
    Why do people make a big deal out of this? Because they try and do anything to discredit the Germans. I’m not German, but it seems like the German bashing is out of spite.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_Summer_Olympics
    Take a look at the medal count. If anything, the 1936 Summer Olympics PROVED that the Germans WERE superior. People want to talk about one single event in which a black man came first and a German came second, while ignoring all of the other events. They won 89 medals that year, the second being the US with 56.
    So saying that this one race proved that the Germans weren’t superior is dumb, ignorant, and bigoted in itself. Why ignore the rest of the events?
    And as I said, I’m not German, nor do I have any German blood, however, I am a realist and I see what is going on here. Zionist propaganda at its finest. Germany crushed the competition that year.
    In fact, why no mention of the blacks who were defeated by Germans that year (yet make the one who did beat them a story told forever)? Being racist against Germans is no worse than being racist against Jews.

    John

    October 16, 2010 at 3:59 am

    • “propaganda at its finest.”

      I couldn’t agree more.. that was something that Goebels would have been proud of!

      SKZSKZ

      October 16, 2010 at 8:19 am

    • It said he smashed the theories of racial superiority. The Germans may have dominated the games but not because they had Aryan blood; it was because they trained harder than the rest of them. Think before you speak next time stupid ass.

      Remy

      October 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      • You’re an idiot. You do not know the reason they won the games? How do you know they trained harder than everyone else, moron? You’re obviously trying to discredit the Germans because they are superior to you.

        John

        October 17, 2010 at 5:42 am

    • Dear John,

      I’m SO tired of (stupid) people complaining about “German-bashing” everytime the Nazis are criticized.
      You obviously do NOT know your history very well!

      The Nazis were a SMALL portion of the German population; MOST GERMANS WERE NOT NAZIS AND MOST GERMANS DID NOT AGREE WITH OR SUPPORT HITLER!!!!

      Criticizing the Nazis (and YES they SHOULD be criticized!) is NOT being racist against Germans.
      Go to Germany and see what most Germans will say about the Nazis. Especially ask those Germans who are old enough to remember what really happened when Hitler took power. Please hurry.

      Your comment to Remy further down PROVES (again) that you’re the idiot here by saying…(and I quote)…
      “…how do you know they trained harder than anyone else, moron? You’re obviously trying to discredit the Germans because they are superior to you.”

      UMMM…just what are you basing your theory on? How would you even come to the conclusion that Remy is trying to discredit the Germans because they are better than he/she is? Remy could BE a German for all you (or anyone else here) knows.

      The German people weren’t any better or worse than anyone else and Remy was just stating a fact that thier winning many events had nothing to do with having Aryan blood. Remy is correct.

      The bottom line in athletic competition is this; winners train. Hard. Often.
      Get that through your thick skull, turn off the TV, brush the Cheetos dust off your shirt and go ask any athlete what it takes to win. Do it now.

      According to you, the Germans shouldn’t have even had to train at all, trusting in thier superior genes to propel them to certain victory.

      It’s a known fact that the Germans trained harder than others for this competition. THINK about it….
      did you figure that one out yet? Think harder.

      Each race has its own unique attributes (there’s a really cool book called a dictinary in case you don’t know what the word *attribute* means) and NO race is any better than another.

      That having been said, I will add that YES different races DO have different attributes. For example; Black people usually have what is called “fast twitch” muscle fibers, especially in thier legs, giving them a SMALL advantage in sprinting. White people usually have “slow twitch” muscle fibers, giving them a SMALL advantage in distance running. Which is better? That’s purely a matter of opinion. Keep in mind the advantages are small, and could easily be overcome by the other racial group/s training harder. It doesn’t mean one group is better or worse than another or that a Black person can’t run a marathon as good as a White person.

      Have you heard of sexual dymorphism? That means that (in general) males tend to be larger and stronger than females. Well, we ALL know that some men are quite small, and some women can be VERY strong. Most women aren’t strong enough to be a firefighter, but SOME can. It’s scientifically proven that in general women handle pain better than men, and that our brains work differently. Women make better race car drivers, believe it or not. So, who is superior, women or men? (Aryan or not, haha)

      We are all human and there is such a huge genetic diversity that makes up the human race so how can you say that any group is better or worse than another?

      People often don’t even know thier own genetic heritage. For example, did you know that almost ALL Black people you see in America are at least 20-30% Aryan on average? Most don’t even know.

      NOTE; I use the term “Black” because I hate the term “African-American” due to the fact that most Black Americans don’t have recent ties to Africa and have never been there, and also if I had to explain MY bloodline in “PC language” it would be a rather long explaination. I hate the term
      “_________-American” in general, (insert chosen natinality) I have nothing against Black people.

      Maternally, (that means the bloodline that goes through my Mother’s side of the family)
      I DO have German blood.

      I AM;
      Paternally; 3rd generation Irish

      Maternally; Native American; Cherokee,(proven) and possibly Choktaw as well (unproven) German, Dutch, Scottish, English, French(maybe) and possibly other heritage.

      I am proud of my genetic heritage, as should everyone be. No race or nationality is better or worse than another.

      My daughter has German, Jewish, Black, Welsh, Scottish and possibly (unproven) Native American (Tonkawa) from her dad’s lineage, and she is dating a man of Mexican and possibly also Spanish (yes there is a difference) heritage. I hope they have lots of beautiful children one day!

      John, you are obviously of a Nazi mind-set and need to go back to school.

      I-Have-A-Brain

      February 16, 2011 at 7:07 am

      • Dude shut up

        marekus

        February 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

  6. To chime in again one last time, as far as “evil-ness” goes, the Nazi’s of the 30’s-40’s = The Zionists of today

    John

    October 16, 2010 at 4:03 am

    • What an idiot you are, John.

      Dee

      July 13, 2016 at 4:16 am

  7. Um, it’s not any sort of propaganda or conspiracy. It’s just that the victors write history, and Germany… well, it may have done well in the Olympics, but it did not win.

    Steve Someone

    October 16, 2010 at 6:32 am

  8. Who are the two other individuals on the awards platform?

    Carl Ulbrich

    October 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    • Ludwig “Luz” Long of Germany second. Naoto Tajima of Japan third. Tajima also wo the triple jump.

      Knut Gulbrandsen

      November 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm

  9. I have a brain is right but really needs to ease up a bit

    Max

    March 5, 2011 at 7:31 am

  10. Thanks for sharing. He was an amazing athelete.

    Tower 200

    March 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm

  11. Inspiring information on improving my athletic performance!

    Athletic James

    December 12, 2011 at 3:22 am

  12. […] Louganis; Dorando Pietri; American basketball team’s controversial loss; Jesse Owens gets cheers; Antonio Rebollo lights the flame; the bloody water-polo match; terrorism rears its ugly hooded […]

  13. […] Kozakiewicz; Greg Louganis; Dorando Pietri; American basketball team’s controversial loss; Jesse Owens gets cheers; Antonio Rebollo lights the flame; the bloody water-polo match; terrorism rears its ugly hooded […]

  14. […] in pomp and splendor of Berlin Olympics in 1936. There were a few hitches for the Nazis, like  Jesse Owens winning 100 m sprint and smashing Hitler’s theories of racial superiority, but the Olympics were a great success for […]

  15. […] in pomp and splendor of Berlin Olympics in 1936. There were a few hitches for the Nazis, like  Jesse Owens winning 100 m sprint and smashing Hitler’s theories of racial superiority, but the Olympics were a great success for […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: