Hitler, The Olympics and Jesse Owens


August 9th, 1936 - Berlin, Germany


On this day in 1936, Jesse Owens won his 4th gold medal in the same Olympic games. Bigger than winning 4 gold medals, the importance of Jesse Owens' victories spanned the entire globe. The 1936 Olympics coincided with Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. Hitler had initially tried to ban blacks and jews from the games. This upset much of the world and an Olympic boycott was even established. Barcelona, Spain set up the People's Olympiad Games, an alternative to the Olympics, but unfortunately, the Spanish Civil War broke out the day before the games were scheduled to start, so Hitler and the Germans went full speed ahead with the 1936 Olympics.

Hitler used the Olympic games to showcase the political and economic growth of Germany under the Third Reich and to promote the idea of a supreme Aryan race. Owens showed Hitler, by proving that the Aryan race was hardly a supreme race when Owens was competing. Hitler hoped that the games would help him prove the idea of a supreme Aryan race, but instead the games left the world idolizing a black man, Jesse Owens. (Photo credit ESPN)