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In 1935, Jesse Owens made sporting history when he broke five world records and equalled a sixth in the space of 45 minutes. One of these world records, 8.13m in the long jump, would last for 25 years.
At the 1936 Berlin Games, Owens won four gold medals, in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and the long jump. He managed to break or equal nine Olympic records and also set three world records. One of those world records was in the 4x100m relay. The quartet set a time that wouldn’t be bettered for 20 years.
Adolf Hitler hoped that the 1936 Berlin Games would prove his theory of Aryan racial superiority. Instead, Owens’ achievements led the people of Berlin to hail him, an African-American, as a hero.
Jesse Owens died of lung cancer in 1980. Since then a street and a school have been named after him in Berlin, two US postage stamps have been issued in his honour, and a memorial park has been opened in Alabama, amongst other tributes.