Jesse Owens is one of the most famous athletes of all time, especially for his participation in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Owens achieved his fame at the Olympics by winning four gold medals and becoming the undisputed star of the time.
His victories were especially important for the fact that Adolf Hitler had planned the games to occur in Berlin to showcase his Aryan ideals and the superiority of his people yet Owens, an African American, shocked the world instead. After winning gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters, the long jump, and the 4x100 meter relay,
Owens was instantly America’s trophy to show to the world. Amazingly however, the government never recognized Owens performances! Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to invite him to the White House or even to have honors bestowed for Owens. His successor, Harry S. Truman also refused to recognize him, and it was not until Eisenhower took office that Owens was named “Ambassador of Sports” in 1955.
Strangely enough however, after destroying any concept of credibility in Adolf Hitler’s racist ideology, the Führer personally honored Owens and sent him a commemorative gift. Strange story? Learn more about it here!