Jesse Owens

A famous Olympian

Facts about his life and death

Jesse was born in Oakville, Alabama on September 12,1913.

His parents named him James Cleveland and called him J.C.

He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where a teacher thought he was saying his name was Jesse and started calling him that.

He died in Tucson, Arizona on March 31, 1980.

Jesse Owens was 66 when he died.

How Jesse Owens became a famous Olymian, challenges he faced, and his accomplishments

Jesse started running track when he was in junior high. The track coach saw him playing on the playground and thought he would be great at track, so he made him start training.

  • A major challenge for Jesse was when he participated in the 1936 summer Olympics. The Olympics were in Berlin, Germany during Hitler's reign and Hitler was angry that a black man was in his country participating in the Olympics.
  • Other challenges for Jesse:

    • He had multiple fouls during the Olympics on the long jump.
    • He got into trouble because of fighting in school.
    • He was constantly sick when he was a child.
  • Accomplishments Jesse had:
  • Jesse's famous race was in Berlin where he set a world record during his relay event.
  • Jesse won four gold medals during the 1936 Olympics.
  • Jesse received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.
  • He is thought of as a man of great courage and strength, he has continued to be honored even after his death with Presidential Awards, and schools and streets named after him.