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Weekend Warrior: Jesse Owens

While we encourage a no-days-off mentality, we understand that sometimes you just have too much to do during the week to fit in exercise. If you leave working-out for the weekend, then you’re a “Weekend Warrior”.

With that said, after a task-packed week, sometimes its hard to will yourself to get up and get active on Saturday and Sunday.

That’s why we give you one Weekend Warrior story each week: something to get you out of the house and into the gym on a weekend morning.

This week’s pick shocked the world in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, by setting 5 world records and winning 4 gold medals in his first Olympic appearance. This week’s Weekend Warrior is Jesse Owens.

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Legendary American athlete, Jesse Owens, at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. Jesse Owens made sporting history when he broke five world records and equalled a sixth in a space of 45 minutes. One of these world records, 8.13m in the long jump, would last for 25 years. Jesse owens won gold in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m and long jump, all at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He is noted as the fastest man in the world in his time! Jesse passed away on March 31st, 1980 but is still recognized as one of the greatest track and field athletes in history 🇺🇸🏆 • • • • #jesseowens #1936olympics #berlinolympicstadium #berlinolympics #worldchampionships #run #running #runner #runners #runnerscommunity #runnation #tracklife #trackmeet #tracknation #trackandfield #iaaf #iaafathletics #olympicgames #olympics #olympicsport #olympiad #passion #adidas #adidasrunning #impossibleisnothing #sprint #sprinting #longjump #fieldevents #runnsphere

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The 1936 Summer Olympics

In 1933, shortly after taking control of Germany, Adolf Hitler looked to the Summer Olympics as a prime piece of nationalistic propaganda for Germany.

He wanted to show that his “ideal society”, that being an Aryan-race society, was superior.

Knowing of Hitler’s prejudice but not of his atrocities just yet, The US was undecided on whether or not they would send athletes to the summer games.

Meanwhile, Jesse Owens was making himself known as a star-sprinter.

Tying the world record for the 100-meter dash while he was still in high school, Owens went on to set 3 world records in the 1935 Big Ten Championships during his time at Ohio State University.

After a long debate and almost an all-out boycott of the games, The US decided to enter to showcase their Olympians in the first Olympics to be televised worldwide and also the first Olympic games to feature the now famous torch-run.

Following in the footsteps of fellow African-American Olympian sprinter Ralph Metcalfe, who won a silver medal in the 1932 Olympics, Owens had big shoes to fill.

However, he faced backlash from his own community, specifically the NAACP, for wanting to enter the Games knowing of Hitler’s discriminatory policies.

But those policies were the exact reason why Owens wanted to go in the first place. He wanted to show Hitler what someone of a non-Aryan race could do on the world stage.

From the start of the games, Owens made himself known. In his first event, the 100-meter dash, he easily cruised by his competition to get the gold. He backed this win up with another win over the German-favorite, Luz Long, in the long jump.

Owens obtained his 3rd gold medal in the 200-meter dash. After that, he clinched his 4th gold by breaking a world record in his 4×100 relay race, making him the first athlete of any race to win 4 gold medals in Olympic track and field, a record that held up until 1984.

Defeated and embarrassed, Hitler declined to congratulate Owens or any of the games’ winners.

Ultimately, Owens dismantled any doubts that a black man couldn’t perform on the world stage. He stood up to prejudice and knocked it flat on it’s back, setting 5 world records with 4 gold medals.

It was his bravery that paved the way for black athletes and civil rights icons like Jackie Robinson to showcase their talents despite immense bigotry.

So what do you think? Can you rise above the work-week hangover for a 30-minute workout?

Happy weekend. Get out and get active.


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Ian Roden

Ian Roden

Writer and expert

A Fordham University graduate, Ian majored in communications and media studies with a focus in journalism and a minor in anthropology during his time at college. Here, he wrote for the university newspaper ranked top ten in the nation.

A competitive athlete for most of his life, Ian has spent almost a decade working as an ocean rescue lifeguard in New Jersey. Within that role, he has competed in endurance sports competitions against other lifeguards for the last 8 years.

As a lifelong surfer, Ian spends most of his spare time in the ocean regardless of the time of year. He also enjoys distance running, photography, and frequently spending entirely too much money on concert tickets.

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