What was the immediate impact of Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games?
- call me AlLv 72 months ago
Frankly, there wasn't much of a big immediate impact after Owens's big Olympics in Berlin in 1936.
Owens' race wasn't that big a deal. Eddie Tolan, who won the 1932 Olympics 100m sprint, and Ralph Metcalfe, Owens' greatest rival in the mid-1930's, were both African-Americans. So blacks doing well in sprints was no surprise.
It's true Hitler didn't congratulate Owens after winning any of his golds, as he had done earlier. But after Hitler didn't congratulate a black American athlete after he won gold (I think it was Cornelius Johnson in the high jump), Olympic officials told him to either congratulate everyone or no one. He chose no one, and on the next day Owens won his first gold medal. That story did come out immediately, but it portrayed as Hitler snubbing Owens.
Owens' plan was to compete in the 100m, 200m, and the long jump (his specialty). He was pressed to compete in the 4x100m relay at the last minute. Most historians agree that he and Metcalfe were inserted into the relay in order to replace two American sprinters, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoll. Owens protested, saying he was tired and that Marty & Sam deserved their chance to compete. But American Olympic Committee Chairman Avery Brundage ordered Owens to shut up & do as he was told. (Remember, this is a white authority figure commanding a young black man in the mid-1930s.) Owens complied. Brundage denied this and the fact that Glickman & Stoll were Jewish was a complete coincidence. Also a coincidence was that Brundage had documented Nazi sympathies: he spoke at an American Nazi Party convention.
The episode that led to Owens & Metcalfe competing in the relay didn't come out until years later. So that doesn't count as an "immediate impact." (Everyone involved agreed on that story, except, of course, Brundage.)
BTW, this is largely based on Jeremy Schaap's book, "Triumph".
- Chris AncorLv 72 months ago
Jubilation by all the spectators bar the Nazis.
- GTBLv 72 months ago
The immediate impact was that he wore 4 gold medals