Welcome to our collection of quotes by Jesse Owens. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.
Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history". He set three world records and tied another, all in less than an hour, at the 1935 Big Ten track meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan—a feat that has never been equaled and has been called "the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport".
He achieved international fame at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, by winning four gold medals: 100 meters, long jump, 200 meters, and 4 × 100-meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the Games and, as a black American man, was credited with "single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy", though Owens commented that he was "snubbed" by the U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as he was not invited to the White House to shake Roosevelt's hand.
The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field's highest accolade for the year's best track and field athlete. Owens was ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the 20th century and the highest-ranked in his sport. In 1999, he was on the six-man short-list for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century.
Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition; awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.
It dawned on me with blinding brightness. I realized: I had jumped into another rare kind of stratosphere -- one that only a handful of people in every generation are lucky enough to know.
When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.
I had four gold medals, but you can't eat four gold medals.
Only by God?s grace have I made it to see today and only by God?s grace will I ever see tomorrow.
The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads -- in the end -- to the best within us.
People come out to see you perform and you've got to give them the best you have within you.
It's like having a pet dog for a long time. You get attached to it, and when it dies you miss it.
The lives of most men are patchwork quilts. Or at best one matching outfit with a closet and laundry bag full of incongruous accumulations. A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.
To a sprinter, the hundred-yard dash is over in three seconds, not nine or ten.
To a sprinter, the hundred-yard dash is over in three seconds, not nine or ten. The first 'second' is when you come out of the blocks. The next is when you look up and take your first few strides to attain gain position. By that time the race is actually about half over. The final 'second' -- the longest slice of time in the world for an athlete -- is that last half of the race, when you really bear down and see what you're made of. It seems to take an eternity, yet is all over before you can think what's happening.
Hitler didn't snub me -- it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram.
I decided I wasn't going to come down. I was going to fly. I was going to stay up in the air forever.
I realized now that militancy in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn't a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.
The only victory that counts is the one over yourself.
It was bad enough to have toppled from the Olympic heights to make my living competing with animals. But the competition wasn't even fair. No man could beat a race horse, not even for 100 yards.
Running is real. It's all joy and woe, hard as diamond. It makes you weary beyond comprehension, but it also makes you free.
Life doesn't give you all the practice races you need.
The only bond worth anything between human beings is their humanness.
Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.
A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.
For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world.
Find the good. It's all around you. Find it, showcase it and you'll start believing in it.
The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself -- the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us -- that's where it's at.
Although I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler, I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.
I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.
If you don't try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody's back yard.
If you don't try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody's back yard. The thrill of competing carries with it the thrill of a gold medal. One wants to win to prove himself the best.
Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.
One chance is all you need.
We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.