On This Day 35 years ago: Jesse Owens Sets 6 Records In 45 mins in Ann Arbor
Many of us know Jesse Owens for being a star track athlete, dominating competition left and right all over the world. He would literally leave everyone in his dust on the way to setting many world record and winning many medals in his career. One of his most famous feats was when he won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. He accomplished this the summer after he graduated college and at the young age of 23 as his birth year is 1913. Although, his best track accomplishment occurred in the state of Michigan.
What he did at the Big Ten Championships during his junior season in the year 1935 has yet to be recreated, and honestly it may never be done again. He went on to have one of the best single days on a track by any individual. He would go on to win several Big Ten titles in many different events, but that wasn't the end of the accomplishments. During this meet for Ohio State, He would go on to set 6 records, 5 which he solely holds the record to, and the 6th he tied on, in less than an hour! 45 minutes to be exact!
Jesse Owens, was not from the Midwest, and was in very foreign territory at a time where racial tensions were still running very high. He was already dealing with the difference in the daunting weather opposed to his home state Alabama, when he fell down the stair of his dorm and hurt his lower back, putting him in question for the meet. His pain was so bad he had to be helped in and out of the car they traveled in and couldn't bend to touch his knees. His coach, Larry Snyder, agreed he could compete if they evaluated him on an event-by-event basis. The rest is history.
Ohio State Sophomore Jesse Owens would go on to prove there in Ann Arbor that whether he was 100% healthy or banged up in anyway, he was still the best track athlete in the Big Ten. He would go on to tie or set records in many of the events he competed in that day, along with winning the title. Those events were the 100m, 200m, 220m dashes, 200m and 220m low hurdles, and long jump.
He tied the record in the 100m dash, blazing the track in a time of 9.4 seconds, leaving no room for discussion even without being able to warm up or stretch. He would then move on quickly over to the long jump and only have one attempt. Since he competed in so many events he was often in a time crunch and had to rush through some events. He took one run down the lane for long jump and in one attempt leaped a staggering 8.13m to set his first world record of the day.
He wasted no time bouncing back to win more titles and set more records. As soon as he landed in the sand pit he hopped up and ran back over to the track proceeding to finish the races he had left. He would only run two more races, but the distances for the races also allowed him to use time splits to claim two more records as well. He would go on to set the record for the 220m dash and 220m hurdles with 20.3 seconds and 22.6 seconds respectively. His time splits would give him rights to the 200m and 200m hurdles records as well.
He may have done some amazing things in his life, academic career, and his athletic career but none of them compare to these 45 minutes in Ann Arbor. This day will always be remembered because Jesse Owens dominated another track field and make it look so easy, taking less than an hour to do so.