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Making Jesse Owens NEW

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Making Jesse Owens NEW

AP Photo

Jesse Owens faced both glory and hardship before and after Hitler’s Olympics

Jesse Owens’ four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is the stuff of legend. “A man who's a second class citizen at home, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves, going over to Hitler's Germany,” explained ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap on Making. “And he rose to the occasion in a way that embodies true greatness.” But Owens’ journey from Alabama to Ohio to Germany and back again was filled with many highs and lows. His mother used a hot knife to excise a tumor from his chest when he was 5. He tied the world record in the 100 yard dash as a senior in high school. His college years at Ohio State were marked by both racial segregation and unparalleled athletic achievement. And after his return to America following the Berlin Olympics, Owens and other African-American medalists did not receive the same invitation to the White House that their white counterparts did. “It was one of the things that really hurt him,” said Marlene Rankin, Owens’ daughter and the co-founder of the Jesse Owens Foundation. “Not everything got to him, but I think that did.” On this week’s Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation on the years that defined Jesse Owens’ life, featuring Rankin, NBCNews.com contributor Cecil Harris, Owens’ son-in-law and former business partner Stuart Rankin, and Schaap, author of Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics.

AP Photo

 

Jesse Owens’ four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is the stuff of legend.

“A man who's a second class citizen at home, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves, going over to Hitler's Germany,” explained ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap on Making. “And he rose to the occasion in a way that embodies true greatness.”

But Owens’ journey from Alabama to Ohio to Germany and back again was filled with many highs and lows. His mother used a hot knife to excise a tumor from his chest when he was 5. He tied the world record in the 100 yard dash as a senior in high school. His college years at Ohio State were marked by both racial segregation and unparalleled athletic achievement.

And after his return to America following the Berlin Olympics, Owens and other African-American medalists did not receive the same invitation to the White House that their white counterparts did.

“It was one of the things that really hurt him,” said Marlene Rankin, Owens’ daughter and the co-founder of the Jesse Owens Foundation. “Not everything got to him, but I think that did.”

On this week’s Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation on the years that defined Jesse Owens’ life, featuring Rankin, NBCNews.com contributor Cecil Harris, Owens’ son-in-law and former business partner Stuart Rankin, and Schaap, author of Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics.

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