American track and field athlete specialized in the sprints and the long jump. Owens was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”.
He achieved international fame at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, by winning four gold medals: 100 meters, long jump, 200 meters, and 4 × 100-meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the Games and, as a black man, was credited with “single-handedly crushing Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy”.
Featured Image: Owens salutes the American flag after winning the long jump at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Naoto Tajima, Owens, Lutz Long / Image: AP