James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 - March 31,
1980, aged 66) was an African American track and field athlete. He
participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where
he surprised many by winning four gold medals: On August 3, 1936 he
won the 100m sprint, defeating Ralph Metcalfe; on August 4, the
long jump (later crediting friendly and helpful advice from German
competitor Lutz Long); on August 5, the 200m dash; and, after he
was added to the 4 x 100m relay team, his fourth on August 9 (a
performance not equalled until Carl Lewis won gold medals in the
same events at the 1984 Summer Olympics).
Jesse Owens was inducted to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in
1970. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976 by
Gerald Ford and (posthumously) the Congressional Gold Medal by
George H. W. Bush on March 28, 1990. In 1984, a street in Berlin
was renamed for him, and the Jesse Owens Realschule/Oberschule (a
secondary school) is in Berlin-Lichtenberg.