He was once, quite literally, the fastest man on earth, but 80 years after the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, a powerful new movie, Race, reminds us that Jesse Owens was much more.
He was the son of a sharecropper and the grandson of a slave. He managed, in the midst of the Great Depression, to enroll in Ohio State University while working part-time to help support his poverty-stricken family. On May 25, 1935, at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds, tying the world record. He also set world records in three other events. And in 1936, at the Olympics in Germany, his victory proved to be a shocking blow to the Nazis. Hitler had hoped the games would be a proving ground for his theory of the superiority of the German "Aryan" race. Instead, he watched as Owens became the first American track and field athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad. It was a
Parade talks to the Olympic track legend's three daughters and actor Stephan James, who plays him in Race.