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 Jesse Owens

58. Jesse Owens

    Jesse Owens was born in Alabama in 1913 to a poor, black family. Even when Jesse was a boy, it was clear that he had special athletic ability. He could run extremely fast. In high school he was a long-jump champion.

    Jesse's family didn't have enough money to send him to college. However, because he was an excellent athlete he was able to get a scholarship to Ohio State University. Owens was the star of the Ohio State track team. In one college track event in 1935, he broke three world records in less than an hour! Owens was chosen for the 1936 U.S. Olympic team.

    The 1936 Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany. Adolf Hitler had come to power two years before. Hitler believed that the people of Germany and other northern European countries were better than all other people in the world. Hitler wanted to show the world the Germans were the best so he ordered the German team to train hard.

    At the Olympics, Jesse Owens won both the 100-meter race and the 200-meter race. His time in the 200-meter race set a new Olympic record. Owens was also on the U.S. 400-meter relay team. The U.S. relay team won.

    Then came the long jump. A German athlete broke the Olympic record. Hitler said that he personally would congratulate the winner. But Owens still had one more jump. He jumped several inches further than the German athlete. Hitler left the stadium in anger. Jesse Owens, a black American, had won his fourth gold medal at the Olympics. Jesse Owens was a hero.



1. What family did Owens have?
a. Rich, white
b. Poor, black
c. Poor, white

2. What was Owens good at?
a. Athletic
b. Mathematics
c. Dance

3. What was special for Owens in 1935?
a. He won 3 medals in college.
b. He got the scholarship.
c. He was graduated from the college.

4. Where were the Olympic Games in 1936 held?
a. In the USA
b. In Germany
c. In Spain

5. What did Hitler think about other peoples?
a. They were worse than Germans.
b. He liked them.
c. He wanted Germany to live in collaboration with them.

6. How many medals did Owens win at the Olympic Games?
a. Three
b. Four
c. Five

7. What is the synonym for the word ‘scholarship’ (paragraph 2)?
a. Fines
b. Education
c. Job
d. Bursary

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