INDIVIDUAL EXCELLENCE

by Vincent Edwards


Perhaps the best-remembered athlete in Olympic history, we remember sprinter Jesse Owens for his heroics in the 1936 Olympics, Owens, achieved what no Olympian before him had accomplished winning four gold medals and generally shredding Adolf Hitler's belief that his German "Aryan" people were the dominant race.

 Jesse Owens proved in Berlin and thereafter that he was a dreamer who could make the dreams of others come true, a speaker who could make the world listen and a man who held out hope to millions of young people. During a time of deep-rooted segregation, he not only discredited Hitler's master race theory, but also affirmed that individual excellence, rather than race or national origin, distinguishes one man from another. That alone established Owens as one of the greatest athletes of the last century.