This past Monday, before settling in to my Science & Theory of Health class at Montgomery College, I decided to make use of the facilities on campus and run some laps on the track. Decked out in some of my Ohio State gear, I was out there running sprints from 100 and 110 meters out. One of the other guys out there said I looked like Jesse Owens the way I burning on the track. I was flattered for 2 reasons: (1) I still have the speed and (2) being compared to one of my alma mater’s greatest heroes is a top-level compliment. That brings me to this week’s Black History subject in the Flashback Friday series: Jesse Owens.
How I first came across this subject? I first discovered Jesse Owens in February 1995. Having done a report on Jackie Robinson the year before, my report as a 4th grader was on another famous Black American in sports: Jesse Owens. A week’s worth of research at the library turned up information on him being one of the greatest track and field athletes of all-time.
What it meant to me then? As I was a member of the Wiggins Park Roadrunner track team at the time, Jesse Owens meant everything to me. I watched old VHS tapes of how he ran. He motivated me to give my best effort out there on the track.
What it means to me now? Today, the legend of Jesse Owens lives in me. As both an Ohio State alumnus and a track and field athlete, he’s one of those people who just has a place in your heart. A couple of years back, I saw Race, which was a film based on his story…his life in Columbus and his experience at the Berlin Olympics. I learned a few things that I didn’t know about him, even at Ohio State. Even in this age of speed and fantastic track and field athletes, he remains at the top of the pyramid for me. Certainly better than crybaby ass, sore loser Carl Lewis.