Ep. # 26 Peek Behind The Curtain – Jesse Owens


Jesse Owens’ name reverberates through history as a beacon of courage, determination, and resilience. The 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, showcased his phenomenal athletic abilities and his defiance against Adolf Hitler’s racist myth of a superior Aryan race. As Hitler looked on from the grandstand, Owens turned the Olympic stage into his own personal playground, shattering world records and challenging oppressive ideologies.

Jesse Owens’ Historic Achievements

At the 1936 Olympics, Jesse Owens emerged as a dominant force in track and field, leaving the world in awe of his incredible talent. With grace and speed, he shattered records, claiming four gold medals and etching his name into the annals of sports history. Owens’ achievements were a resounding statement against racial discrimination and a testament to the power of human potential.

Overcoming Racist Ideologies

Owens’ triumph in Berlin had profound implications beyond the realm of sports. It struck a blow to Hitler’s belief in Aryan supremacy, dismantling the myth of racial superiority. Owens, an African American athlete, proved that excellence knows no boundaries and that true strength lies in unity and diversity. His success resonated with marginalized communities worldwide, inspiring hope and igniting the flames of change.

Snubs and Triumphs

Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Jesse Owens faced disappointments and snubs upon returning to America. Even the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, failed to acknowledge his triumphs. Owens later revealed that this snub hurt him more than Adolf Hitler’s refusal to shake his hand. It was a poignant reminder of the racial prejudices that persisted even within his own country.

A Memorable Encounter

A fortunate cameraman named Reggie Selma had the privilege of meeting Jesse Owens in person at a sports banquet. Owens, ever humble and approachable, engaged in a conversation with Reggie Selma, sharing a tuna fish sandwich and leaving a lasting impression. Reggie Selma describes Owens’ star-like presence, the feeling of standing beside a true champion, and the honor of sharing a meal and a conversation with an icon.

 Jesse Owens’ Enduring Legacy

Jesse Owens’ impact extended far beyond his athletic achievements. He became a symbol of hope, resilience, and the fight against racial injustice. African Americans, notably Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Jackie Robinson, embodied the aspirations and dreams of an entire generation. Owens’ story continues to inspire individuals worldwide, reminding us of the strength of the human spirit and the potential to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 

The Lesson of Jesse Owens’ Story

Jesse Owens’ journey teaches us invaluable lessons. It illustrates the power of perseverance and the ability to rise above adversity. Owens’ refusal to be defined by the prejudices of others and his unwavering dedication to his craft inspire us to challenge the limitations society may impose upon us. His story serves as a reminder that true greatness is measured not only by medals and records but also by our positive impact on the world.


Jesse Owens’ legacy transcends sports, reminding us of the immense potential within each of us to challenge injustice and redefine societal norms. His story is a call to action, urging us to break free from the shackles of discrimination and prejudice. Let us draw inspiration from Jesse Owens’ indomitable spirit as we strive to create a world that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and the triumph of the human spirit.

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