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How Long Did It Take Jesse Owens to Break Five World Records?

It took Jesse Owens 45 minutes to break five world records for track and field in 1935 during the Big Ten Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At just 21 years old, Jesse Owens broke the track and field world records for the 100-yard (91.44 m) dash, 220-yard (201.17 m) dash, long jump, and 220 low hurdles while competing as a sophomore at Ohio State University. Owens was not originally supposed to even compete at the event—he only ran the 100-yard (91.44 m) dash in order to see if he could perform with his back injury when he broke the world record with a 9.4 second time.

More about Jesse Owens:

  • At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, Owens became the first American to win four gold medals in track and field. However, this feat was considered especially remarkable because the African American Owens disproved Hitler’s theory that the white race had superior athletic skills.

  • Owens’ real name was James Cleveland Owens. However, he came to be known as Jesse when a teacher misheard his initials “JC” and the name stuck.

  • As a high school senior, Owens jumped 24 feet 11.75 inches (7.62 m) in the broad jump and set a new world record.

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