Friday, September 23, 2005

The dark side to Jesse Owens's 4th Gold medal

Stuff you learn on the net,

"THE STORY of African-American sprinter Jesse Owens's great victory at the "Nazi" Olympics in Berlin in 1936 has always been upheld as a great symbolic victory of a multi-racial democracy against a racist totalitarian regime. Less widely known is that Owens won his fourth gold medal – in the 400-yard relay – because of anti-Semitism. Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, another African-American, were not scheduled to participate in the race. Their participation was the result of a last-minute decision by Avery Brundage, chairman of the US Olympic Committee and an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler, to remove two Jewish-American sprinters, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, from the lineup."


Anonymous said...

This sad aspect of Owens' fourth gold was somewhat buried at the time, but it has received much attention in the past 20 years since David Wallechinsky's first Compolete Book of the Olympic was published. It drew specific attention to the injustice. It should be underlined that it certainly wasn't Owens's doing that Stoller and Glickman were dropped; he made no demand to get one of their relay spots. It was an anti-Semitic move on the part of USOC officials. We should be careful not to tarnish the fact that Owens went out an won. He was simply doing what he was asked to do for his team.

Elaib said...

I suspect that the fact that he had already won 3 gold medals suggests that his evident ability was hardly hidden.
I wonder what the Berlin authorities would have preffered, Black gold or Jewish gold? I doubt either would have been welcomed.
Thanks for the heads up on the book, not one that I had heard of,

Helen said...

Owens remains a fine athlete. But the story does tell you something about the various Olympic organizations - possibly some of the earliest tranzis. Nothing much was said about this in Brundage's subsequent career either.

Gothamimage said...

This sad story is not new. I recall this being in all th documentaries. However, you suggest that Brundage was a supporter of Hitler, while I had always heard that he was not - rather, that he caved out of convienience. In that, he was not alone. Many corporations and diplomats (UK, US, Etc) have made similar ignoble moves regarding their personelle that they send to many countries with oil reserves.
Where did you read tha Brundage was actually a supporter of Hitler?