News08 Mar 2012

Hall of Fame Profile - Jesse Owens (USA)


USA's Jesse Owens (© Getty Images)

Jesse Owens will always be remembered for his symbolic four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

However, for athletics fans he has a special place among the legends of the sport for two additional feats: setting six world records within one hour and also establishing a long jump world record that was to last more than 25 years.

Still a student at Ohio State University, on 25 May 1935 he ran 100 yards in 9.4, 10 minutes later flew out to 8.13m in the long jump, then sped to a 220 yards time of 20.3 (which was also a 200m world record) and finally covered the 220 yards hurdles in 22.6, which was also a world record for its metric equivalent; all achieved in no more than 60 minutes.

His long jump record was the first leap over eight metres and was not beaten until 1960.

Just over a year later in Berlin, Owens won Olympic gold medals in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100m relay, a record four golds at a single Games which was not equalled until his compatriot Carl Lewis won the same quartet of disciplines in 1984.

The long jump was notable for Owens' friendship with local hero Luz Long, which provided a universal image of sportsmanship.

Long famously helped Owens adjust his run up during the qualifying competition to ensure that he made the final after two fouls had put the latter on the brink of elimination, despite the fact that the American was his main rival.

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