James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens, was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 games. Ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century and the highest-ranked in his sport.

At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens won international fame with four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 × 100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the games and as such has been credited with “single-handedly crush[ing] Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.

10 Inspirational Quotes by Jesse Owens

1. Joe Louis and I were the first modern national sports figures who were BLACK. But neither of us could do national advertising because the South wouldn’t buy it. That was the social stigma we lived under.

2. It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-karat FRIENDSHIP I felt for Lutz Long at that moment

The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.

3. When I came back to my NATIVE COUNTRY, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either.

4. Hitler didn’t snub me; it was OUR PRESIDENT who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.

Another old friend gone!

Reported response to learning that his last remaining world record had been broken.

5. The BATTLES that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself — the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us — that’s where it’s at.

6. To a SPRINTER, the hundred-yard dash is over in three seconds, not nine or ten.
The first “second” is when you come out of the blocks.
The next is when you look up and take your first few strides to attain gain position. By that time the race is actually about half over.
The final “second” — the longest slice of time in the world for an athlete — is that last half of the race, when you really bear down and see what you’re made of.
It seems to take an eternity, yet is all over before you can think what’s happening.

7. I realized now that MILITANCY in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn’t a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.

8. SHE was unusual because even though I knew her family was as poor as ours, nothing she said or did seemed touched by that. Or by prejudice. Or by anything the world said or did. It was as if she had something inside her that somehow made all that not count.

I wasn’t in Berlin to compete against any one athlete. The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best.

9. People say that it was DEGRADING for an Olympic champion to RUN against a HORSE, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals. There was no television, no big advertising, no endorsements then. Not for a black man, anyway.

10. It was bad enough to have toppled from the Olympic heights to make my living competing with animals. But the competition wasn’t even fair. No MAN could beat a RACE HORSE, not even for 100 yards. … The SECRET is, first, get a thoroughbred horse because they are the most nervous animals on earth. Then get the biggest gun you can find and make sure the starter fires that big gun right by the nervous thoroughbred’s ear.

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