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Owens was unstoppable en route to four golds in Berlin.
It just can't get any better than this one.
The son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, Jesse Owens stepped into Berlin—the heart of Nazi Germany—and won gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200 meters, long jump and 4x100-meter relay. No man would win four track and field golds in one Olympiad until Carl Lewis did so 48 years later in Los Angeles.
Owens ran the 100 in 10.3 seconds, tying a world record that would stand for 20 more years. His 200-meter mark of 20.7 seconds and long jump of 26 feet, 5 1/2 inches were Olympic records, and he anchored a 4x100 time that set a world record of 39.8 seconds. That record would also stand for 20 years.
Owens' victories on the world stage defied Chancellor Adolf Hitler's theory of an Aryan master race.
What made the moment even greater was the presence of Luz Long, who took the silver medal. Long, a blond-haired and blue-eyed German, was the first person to congratulate Owens.
"It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler," Owens said. "You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace.”