Jesse Owens Wins Four Gold Medal at Berlin OlymPics

The Olympics of 1936 opened in Berlin on August 1, 1936. They took place against the shadow of Hitler’s racial laws and persecution of Jewish Germans. Much to Hitlers chagrin an African American was the star of the Olympic- Jesse Owens won four gold medals.

When the Olympic Committee decided in 1931 that Berlin would host the 1936 Summer Olympics it was not anticipated that Adolph Hitler and his Nazis party would be governing within a year. As the Olympics approached and Hitler imposed his Nuremberg racial laws against the Jews of Germany there was discussion of boycotting the Olympics, but that gained no serious traction.

Adolph Hitler saw the Olympics as an opportunity to show off what he could accomplish. The German government built a 100,000 seat stadium for track and field and a number of other smaller stadiums.

Much to Hitlers consternation it was an African American who ran off with the show. Jesse Owens and American track and field star one four gold medals in sprint and long jump competition.