Jesse Owens and the Olympics

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Date Submitted: 01/14/2013 06:27 PM

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America and the Olympics: Victory For All

The article “American Ideas About Race and Olympic Races in the Era of Jesse Owens: Shattering Myths or Reinforcing Racism” by Mark Dyreson published in the International Journal of the History of Sports in 2008 discusses the 1936 Olympics in Berlin as well as the prior Los Angeles games in 1932 and examines what other African American athletes have achieved prior to Jesse Owens four gold medals in Berlin. Research by famous physiologists and anthropologists tried to explain the “superiority” of African Americans in track events by claiming that special anatomy attributed to the success in sprinting and long jumping. Many agreed to the findings and many opposed them but the effect of the acceptance of minorities representing America had long-lasting effects that still stand to this day.

The struggle between a person’s race and the Olympics has been a controversial topic that has been debated for years and has since been overshadowed these passed few decades due to the acceptance of race and the milestones accomplished by minorities from all over the globe. Although the problem is diminishing it still stays as a lingering topic in the international sports world. Considering America is one of the most diverse countries in the world it is a big topic in this country and it really shaped the way minorities and especially African Americans have been viewed in the Olympics.

The 1930’s were different than the modern age in this new millennium. Different laws, cultures and an influx of people have changed the identification of this nation. America is a heterogeneous nation, meaning that people from all over the world immigrate to this country to add to its diverse population. Since reconstruction there have been several rules that limited what “non-Americans” could do. Considering that African Americans were the main minority during the 1930’s plenty of discriminatory rules applied to them. Rules in sport participation were...