Sometimes the spotlight shines on those who deserve little or no praise, such as the reality stars of today. To try and turn the tide, Jumping in Pools is dedicating a series to shine light on heroes that changed the world as we know it, yet rarely get recognized. These are the people that should be in the limelight.
A Forgotten Hero:
Jesse OwensBeing a black man in Germany was difficult enough, but what Jesse Owens did a the Berlin Olympics in 1936 is nothing less than astonishing. Just 23 at the time, Owens, an American athlete, walked into a racist, hate-filled Germany and showed the world that courage and skill apply to all races.
At the time, Adolf Hitler was preaching hate and violence while declaring the Aryan Race superior to all other races. Discrimination was everywhere in Germany and hatred was thrown at outsiders. Not only this, but Hitler expected the Olympics to be a showcase of German and Aryan power. Yet Jesse Owens did not yield to Hitlers insults, and went to Germany to prove what he could do.
And prove he did. Owens won not one, not two, not three, but four gold medals. Owens won one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team, beating out Hitler's so-called "superior" athletes.
Hitler was shocked at Owens success, complaining to his advisers of Owens's success. To top off his embarrassment, Hitler refused to greet Olympic medalists because of the humiliation Owens had bestowed upon him. Owens had shown the world that "the chancellor" was wrong, upstaging Hitler in his own backyard.
But what do we hear about Owens today? Little, if anything, about every four years. He stood up to a ruthless dictator and a hostile country; he represented the United States gloriously and triumphantly; he should that courage ran through his blood. Yet, he has become one of many forgotten heroes.
But he is still a hero.
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