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Jesse Owens Gold Medal Olympic Champion The Early Years Owens was born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama. He was the tenth child born to sharecroppers, Harry and Mary Owens. As a child Owens was frail and sickly and suffered regularly from bronchitis and pneumonia.

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gold medal olympic champion

Jesse Owens

Gold Medal Olympic Champion

the early years
The Early Years
  • Owens was born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama.
  • He was the tenth child born to sharecroppers, Harry and Mary Owens.
  • As a child Owens was frail and sickly and suffered regularly from bronchitis and pneumonia.
the early years3
The Early Years
  • At the age of seven, Owens moved to Cleveland with his parents.
  • There he worked as a gas station attendant in order to help support his family.
high school
High School
  • Jesse Owens was an All-American athlete in high school.
  • He broke his first world record at the young age of 15.
college life
College Life
  • Owens attended Ohio State University from 1933-1936 and was their number one track and field athlete.
  • At a 1936 college meet in Michigan he broke three world records and tied one in just 45 minutes.
olympics
Olympics
  • At the 1936 summer Olympics, Owens won gold medals in these four events:

100 meter dash

long jump

200 meter dash 400 meter relay

olympics7
Olympics
  • Also at the 1936 summer Olympics, Owens set the Olympic record in the 200 meter with a time of 20.7 seconds, in the long jump with a distance of 26 ¼ inches, and in the 400 meter relay with a time of 39.8 seconds.
  • His 400 meter relay time also set a world record, and his 100 meter dash time of 10.3 seconds tied the world record.
  • Owens is the first track star to win four gold medals in one Olympics.
achievements off the track
Achievements off the Track
  • In the early 1950’s Owens was the Sports Specialist of the State of Illinois 19th Commission.
  • In 1976, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House.
  • Owens always stayed honest and sincere, which increased his popularity with fans.
retirement
Retirement
  • After retiring from sports, Owens got a career in public relations.
  • Owens believed that athletics and competition could solve racial and political problems.
  • He traveled widely giving speeches about clean living, fair play, and patriotism.
  • Owens also worked in community service, mainly working with the youth.
  • However Owens was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer on March 31, 1980.