Jesse Owens Facts

Jesse Owens Facts
Jesse Owens was born on September 12th, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama. His name at birth was James Cleveland Owens. He was the tenth (and last) child born to Henry Cleveland Owens and Emma Alexander Owens. He had three sisters and six brothers. When he was nine years old his family was part of the Great Migration (1.5 million African-Americans left the South because of segregation), and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. James' nickname was J.C. and his teacher thought he said ‘Jesse', and the name took. Jesse did various jobs growing up, and during this time realized that he loved to run. Jesse Owens gained national attention when he met the world record for the 100-yard dash and long-jumped 7.56 meters at the National High School Championship in Chicago in 1928.
Interesting Jesse Owens Facts:
Jesse Owens was the grandson of a slave.
When Jesse Owens was five, he developed a bump on his chest that was pressing against his lungs. His family was too poor to afford a doctor so his mother and father performed the surgery with a kitchen knife.
In 1928 Jesse set Junior High School high jump and broad jump records.
Jesse Owens won the Ohio state championship track events for three years in a row.
Jesse Owens got the nickname Buckeye Bullet at Ohio State University because of the records he set.
Jesse Owens was the captain of his varsity team at Ohio State University. Because he was African-American he was not allowed to live in the on-campus dorms.
While in university Jesse Owens set three world records, and tied another in only 45 minutes.
Jesse married Minnie Ruth Solomon in 1935. They had three daughters Gloria, Marlene and Beverly.
In 1936 Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games. Hitler had expected it to be a showcase for Aryan racial supremacy but Jesse, an African-American, gave one of the greatest Olympic performances of all time.
In the 1936 Olympics Jesse Owens wore shoes made by the eventual founder of Adidas - Dassler. Dassler asked Jesse to wear his new brand of shoes and 10 years later Dassler launched the famous Adidas brand of shoes.
After the Olympics Jesse Owens was still struggling for money and often raced against horses, motorcycles and dogs for money. Owens response when asked about these races was, "I had four gold medals, but you can't eat four gold medals."
Jesse Owens worked various jobs to support his family. He eventually began working with underprivileged youth, which he continued to do for the rest of his life.
Jesse Owens was hired by the New York Mets as a running coach in 1965.
In 1976 Jesse Owens received the Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford.
In 1979 President Carter gave Jesse Owens the Living Legend Award at the White House.
On March 31st, 1980 Jesse Owens died in Tucson, Arizona due to complications from lung cancer.
In Berlin, Germany a street outside the Olympic Stadium was renamed Jesse-Owens-Allee in 1984 in honor of Jesse Owens.

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