August 9, 1936: Jesse Owens wins 4th Gold Medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics
On this day in 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal of the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. The African American track star and his 4x100-meter relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds, which held for 20 years. Owens won four gold medals in all, also setting world records in the 100 and 200-meter sprints and the long jump.
Owens’ victory came as a shock to Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the 1936 games as a showcase for Aryan superiority. Despite the racial slurs he endured, Jesse Owens’ grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus.
Watch American Experience's film 'Jesse Owens' to learn more about this remarkable athlete.
Explore more about the conflicts at the 1936 Olympic Games with American Experience’s ‘The Man Behind Hitler.’
Photo: Jesse Owens in 1936 Olympics (National Archives).