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Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympic gold medal hits the auction block

- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2013

One of track star Jesse Owens' gold medals, won during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin at a time when Nazi propaganda was putting forth a message of Ayran supremacism, has been put up for online auction.

Mr. Owens won the medal for his world record-setting performance in the 100-yard dash, The Associated Press reported.

"Almost singlehandedly, Owens obliterated Hitler's plans," SCP Auctions partner Dan Imler said, in the AP report. "You've got an African American, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves who overcame these incredible circumstances and delivered a performance for the ages."

Mr. Owens won four medals that year — for the 100- and 200-meters, the 400 relay and the long jump. But in a heavily segregated world, he couldn't even return to America and find suitable employment to provide for his family.

"When they came back, the U.S. was just as it was when he left — segregated. Even though he came back an Olympic hero, he wasn't offered opportunities that Olympic heroes of today are offered," said his daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin, 74, in the AP report. "We lived well, a middle class life. We didn't want for much. But like many black men of that era, he struggled to provide for his family."

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