Name: Jesse Owens
Sport: Track and Field
Event(s): 100-meter, 200, 4x100, Long Jump
DOB: 9/12/1913
Birthplace: Danville, Ala.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Olympic Experience
  • Olympian (1936); four-time Olympic medalist (4 golds)
  • Berlin 1936, gold (100-meter, 200, 4x100, long jump)
Personal: Son of Henry and Emma Owens...Grew up with six brothers and sisters...Full name was James Cleveland Owens, and his family called him J.C., but his elementary school teacher heard “Jesse” instead of J.C. and the name stuck...Worked multiple jobs to help his family financially...Coach Charlie Riley watched Owens run in a gym class and invited him to train with the track team before school in the mornings...Ran track at Ohio State University...Since he was not offered any major endorsement deals after the Olympics, he became a runner-for-hire after the Olympics...Established his own public relations firm and did many public speaking engagements...Made goodwill trips to India and East Asia on behalf of the U.S. State Department...Served as secretary of the Illinois State Athletic Commission...Devoted much of his time to underprivileged youth as a board member and former director of the Chicago Boys’ Club...United States Olympic Committee created the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award in 2016 that recognizes an individual(s) who has served as a powerful force for good in society...Father to three daughters: Gloria, Beverly and Marlene, with wife, Ruth.