The Fastest Man Alive: Jesse Owens’s Racing Legacy

On August 9, 1936, track star Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Leading off the U.S. 4 x 100-meter relay team, which would set a new world record, Owens launched himself into history as one of the greatest Olympic heroes of all time.

In 1935, Owens prefaced his Olympic stardom when, on May 25, he set five world records and tied another in one afternoon as a member of Ohio State University’s track and field team. The “Buckeye Bullet” solidified his position as the fastest man alive after also winning the gold in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and long jump during the 1936 Games.

Despite his incredible achievements, Owens’s athletic career was surprisingly short. With the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games canceled because of World War II, Owens’s focus shifted from running to raising a family. But his legacy as the Buckeye Bullet lived on for years.

In 1998, Owens appeared on a U.S. postage stamp as part of the Celebrate the Century series on the 1930s pane. He’s depicted in his Ohio State uniform clearing a hurdle.

Jesse Owens TM Estate of Jesse Owens c/o CMG Worldwide, Indpl, IN.