When 22-year-old Jesse Owens captured four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, he became one of the world's most celebrated athletes. An African-American, he was a living repudiation of Hitler's credo of Aryan supremacy. Running on a muddy track, he equaled the world record of 10.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash, then dramatically beat a German competitor in the broad jump, setting an Olympic record that stood for 24 years. The next day, against a headwind, Owens set a world record in the 200-meter dash. Then, replacing a Jewish sprinter left out of the Hitler games, Owens won his fourth gold medal as part of the 400-meter relay team. Owens returned to a segregated America a national hero. When the Civil Rights movement finally gained momentum a generation later, he was all but forgotten.
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