A social media account known as ‘History In Pix’ has reminded us all what true courage looks like, posting an iconic photo of American track and field legend Jesse Owens saluting the American flag at the 1936 games in Berlin.
In the face of hostility, flanked by numerous others standing in a Nazi salute to Adolf Hitler who sickeningly believed in a master race, Owens stood in defiance, saluting the American flag.
Owens won four gold medals in the 1936 games, triumphing in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 × 100 meter relay.
“When Owens finished competing,” ESPN’s Larry Schwartz wrote in 2000, “the African-American son of a sharecropper and the grandson of slaves had single-handedly crushed Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.”
And he did so while proudly saluting the American flag during the medal ceremonies.
Jesse Owens wins gold in Nazi Germany, 1936. pic.twitter.com/BNzf1XCS3z
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPix) September 27, 2017
“In Germany, the Nazis portrayed African-Americans as inferior and ridiculed the United States for relying on ‘black auxiliaries,'” Shwartz wrote. “But the German people felt otherwise. Crowds of 110,000 cheered him in Berlin’s glittering Olympic Stadium and his autograph or picture was sought as he walked the streets.”
He was a true American sports hero.
This is an excerpt about the national anthem being played at the Olympic ceremonies and what it meant to Owens from the book “Jesse Owens: A Biography.”
If Jesse could still show respect then with all that he was living with…wow, puts a lot of things in perspective with today’s athletes.
— Dave Pasquale (@SemisarcasticDp) September 28, 2017
What a powerful image. Brings up a lot of thoughts.
— Deborah Austin (@64debbers) September 28, 2017
Jesse Owens is America
— UnusuallyCruel (@usuallycruel) September 28, 2017
James Woods managed to catch a glimpse of the historical photo as well, saluting Owens as a great American.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 27, 2017
Owens was presented with the Medal of Freedom in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, the highest honor the U.S. can bestow upon a civilian.
And in 1990, President George H.W. Bush posthumously awarded Owens with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“It was an unrivaled athletic triumph,” Bush said of Owens performance at the 1936 Olympics. “But more than that, it really was a triumph for all humanity.”
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