The last time the United States competed as a team in Berlin was the 1936 Olympics. I’m sure you’ll recall that that was the time when Hitler ruled Germany and was determined to prove that the Aryan race was superior. Well, the 1936 Olympics did just the opposite and that was thanks to a man named Jesse Owens. It was not only his superior athleticism, which earned him 4 Gold medals and an Olympic record, but also the way he carried himself as a person. He affirmed that “individual excellence, rather than race or national origin, distinguishes one man from another.”
There are many professional athletes that are looked up to or admired for a myriad of reasons. In our society, it’s easy for us to adore someone based on a skill set they possess. But Jesse Owens is someone that should be revered for the person he was, something that goes far beyond what he accomplished as an athlete. As an athlete I realize the importance of those who came before me and paved the way so that I can live my life doing something that I love and am passionate about. Jesse Owens is one of those people. But his influence goes so far beyond athletics and he is one of those few individuals that could be and should be a hero to everyone.
As a team, we are honoring his legacy and his spirit by adorning our uniforms with the letters JO in the upper right hand corner. If we could all take a little bit of his strength and courage with us in competition, it’s sure to be an advantage. Above all though, it’s an honor to be following in his footsteps.
***For those of you who have been watching track all week long and have wondered when the heck women’s long jump is going to make an appearance, we kick off tomorrow evening for the Prelims at 6:15 pm local time. I feel inspired, blessed, and completely ready for the task at hand. I’m excited to get going and expect to be updating with positive results afterwards. Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers!