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Black Americans star in front of Hitler at Berlin Olympics


Black Americans star in front of Hitler at Berlin Olympics

Jesse Owens of the U.S. wins his third gold medal as he crosses the finish line in the 200 meter dash at a time of 20.7 seconds at the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 14, 1936. America’s Mack Robinson, left, was second and Tinus Osendarp, center, of the Netherlands came in third. AP By…

Jesse Owens of the U.S. wins his third gold medal as he crosses the extinguish line in the 200 meter bound at a time of 20.7 seconds on the Olympic Video games in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 14, 1936. The United States’s Mack Robinson, left, used to be 2nd and Tinus Osendarp, center, of the Netherlands came in third.


By PAT GRAHAM | Connected Press | Published: July 31, 2020

The name of sprinter Mack Robinson may perhaps honest now not be as effectively-identified as Jesse Owens, the megastar of the 1936 Berlin Video games.

Robinson’s now not even essentially the most illustrious particular person in his find family, a distinction that goes to his youthful brother, Jackie, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Mack Robinson’s contributions to the historical past books were some distance-reaching, too.

Robinson used to be a part of a community of 18 Murky athletes from the U.S. who blended for 14 medals in front of Adolf Hitler on the 1936 Video games. Led by Owens and his four gold medals, they dispatched the Nazi claims of Aryan supremacy with their performances at a stadium constructed as a social gathering of the Third Reich.

“This used to be something that bought the consideration of of us in professional sports as effectively. They saw this occurring and commenced to rethink the inclined segregation commercial,” said author David Clay Neat, whose book ” Nazi Video games: The Olympics of 1936 ” recounts the entirety from athletic feats, to how the Video games were nearly boycotted and to the principle torch relay used as a part of Nazi propaganda. “It did now not happen at as soon as, but it began the ball rolling for the eventual integration of professional sports on the extinguish of the following decade.”

Abet then, the community of Murky athletes weren’t invited to the White Condo to find a good time their achievements.

Eighty years later, their households were.

In 2016, then President Barack Obama honored  honored the achievements by Owens, Robinson, Ralph Metcalfe, Jack Wilson, John Brooks, Tidye Pickett, Louise Stokes, James LuValle, Fritz Pollard Jr., John Woodruff, Dave Albritton, Archie Williams, Cornelius Johnson, James Clark, Howell King, Art Oliver, Willis Johnson and John Terry.

In his contend with, Obama said: “It wasn’t honest Jesse. It used to be other African-American athletes in the guts of Nazi Germany below the gaze of Adolf Hitler that build a lie to notions of racial superiority — whooped ’em and taught them a thing or two about democracy and taught them a thing or two about the American personality.”

Though Robinson broke the 200-meter Olympic file that day, he hurt up 0.4 seconds in the abet of Owens to find a silver medal. Williams (400 champion), Woodruff (800), Johnson (excessive soar) and Metcalfe (4×100) also took house gold along with Owens.

It will likely be the final Olympics till 1948 as World Battle II broke out.


The Berlin Video games were nearly boycotted by the U.S. and other countries over Germany’s racist insurance policies. The impact of American Olympic Association President Avery Brundage swayed a shut vote by the Amateur Athletic Union to relieve on the provision that Germany assured there will likely be no discrimination against Jewish athletes. There were 49 countries in Berlin, which used to be extra than any old Olympics.


Metcalfe and Owens weren’t in the starting up on the 4×100 relay personnel. They modified Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, two Jewish athletes on the squad. Neat combed by archives to verbalize a aim but found out nothing definitive.

“It be at all times been debated whether or now not there used to be strict anti-Semitism fascinated with the option, whether or now not they were dropped in verbalize to assuage Hitler in some capability,” Neat said. “Or if (the coach) honest wished to make certain you preserve and essentially the most easy bet for that used to be to find Owens in there.”


Earlier than Michael Jordan and the “Dream Team,” there used to be Joe Fortenberry and the rain drops.

The middle from Texas led the Individuals to a 19-8 preserve over Canada for the gold medal as men’s basketball made its Olympic debut on the 1936 Berlin Video games. Fortenberry led the capability with eight aspects –  in a driving rain storm, no much less, with the recreation played open air. It used to be the principle of 15 Olympic titles for the American men’s personnel.


The torch relay bought its launch with the Berlin Video games as a propaganda plan to preserve the symbolism of a fresh Germany. There were round 3,000 runners used over nearly two weeks to transport the flame from Olympia in Greece to Berlin.

A few of the international locations the flame traveled by would eventually descend below Nazi preserve an eye on. German film director Leni Riefenstahl included photographs in her 1938 movie “Olympia.”

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Compelling stories from athletes in the ’36 Video games were grew to change into into easiest-selling books.

In Daniel James Brown’s book, ” The Boys in the Boat,” he recounts the story about a community of working-class college students from the College of Washington forming the eight-oared crew that edged out Italy and Germany for the gold medal.

Laura Hillenbrand authored ” Unbroken,” which featured Louis Zamperini who licensed for the U.S. personnel in the 5,000-meter bound on the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1943, his bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and he drifted in the ocean for 47 days sooner than being captured by the Eastern Navy shut to the Marshall Islands. He spent extra than two years as a prisoner of battle, surviving torture.

It used to be grew to change into correct into a movie directed by Angelina Jolie.


American athlete Jesse Owens, left, breaks the tape in a file time of 21.1 seconds in the elimination heats of the boys’s 200-meter bound on the Olympic Video games bound in Berlin, Germany. Canada’s Lee Orr, center, finished 2nd.


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