The Feat Accomplished In Michigan That Will Never Be Equaled [Video]
On this day in 1935, a young man did something in Ann Arbor that probably can never be topped. He set four world track and field records in under an hour.
The following year, the same man would put an icy chill on a dictator's belief that one race was superior to others.
Of course, I'm talking about Jesse Owens.
Owens, representing Ohio State, ran roughshod over the Western Conference (now known as the Big Ten) track and field championships on the campus of the University of Michigan. The 21-year-old broke or equaled four world records in just 45 minutes.
The way track meets are set up now may prevent this feat from ever being accomplished again, as most present day athletes request and are usually given more recovery time between events.
But back then, things moved along according to a tight schedule. Here's how Owens unbelievable afternoon played out:
1. At 3:15 p.m. he ran 100 yards in 9.4 seconds, tying the world record.
2. At 3:25 p.m. he long jumped once and broke the world record of 26 feet 2 and 1/8 inches with a leap of 26 feet 8 inches.
3. At 3:35 p.m. he ran the 220 in 20.3 seconds, breaking a world record of 20.6 seconds that had stood for nine years.
4. At 4:00 p.m. he ran the 220-yard low hurdles in 22.6 seconds, breaking the world record of 23.0 seconds that stood for 11 years.
The afternoon of glory was featured in a Hollywood movie about Owens called "Race" which starred Stephan James as Owens and Jason Sudekis as his coach.
In 1936, Owens would go on to win four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, the most by any track athlete that year. But German Chancellor Adolph Hitler, the man who believed in the supremacy of the Aryan race, refuse to greet Owens, a Black man, after his amazing feats.
Owens, unfortunately, had to endure being treated like a second class citizen in parts of his home country when he returned, and without a professional track circuit like there is today, was relegated to racing horses for money.