Sunday, May 25, 2003

Ohio Moments


Jesse Owens raced to glory as OSU student

On May 25, 1935, Jesse Owens sprang to prominence when he set three world track records and tied one while competing for Ohio State University at the Big Ten Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Owens broad-jumped 26 feet, 81/4 inches - 6 inches more than the old record. He also set records by running the 220-yard dash in 20.3 seconds and the 220-yard low hurdles in 22.3 seconds. Finally, he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds - tying the existing record.

Born in Alabama in 1913, Owens moved to Cleveland with his family when he was 8. At Fairmount Junior High School, coach Charlie Riley discovered that Owens could run fast and recruited him for the track team. Riley served as a mentor on and off the track, instructing Owens in discipline and excellence. Owens became a track star at Cleveland East Technical High School.

In his sophomore year at OSU, Owens - also known as the "Buckeye Bullet" - entered the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. An African-American, Owens shattered Nazi Germany's claim of Aryan supremacy by winning four gold medals - for the 100- and 200-meter dash, the broad jump and the 400-meter relay. He was the first American to win four Olympic gold medals in one day.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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