It was said for Jesse Owens that his outstanding performance affirmed that individual excellence rather than a race or national origin distinguishes one man or woman from another. Comment with reference to Jesse Owens’ autobiographical account “My Greatest Olympic Prize”.
Jesse Owens, the great American athlete, has revealed in his autobiographical write-up “My Greatest Olympic Prize” how he went on to win four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics 1936 demolishing the Aryan-superiority theory of the Nazis. Jesse trained himself hard for six years with the games in mind and was confident that race or national origin had nothing to do with individual performances.
Jesse faced a big challenge at the beginning by being tricked by Hitler who kept one German athlete Luz Long under wraps in the hope of winning the board jump with him. Jesse, being a Negro, felt insulted. It was something that made him angry and “an angry athlete is an athlete who will make mistakes”. He made mistakes too. But luckily he was helped big time by Luz Long who went on to become his life-long friend.
And in the end, Jesse went on to win the finals with a peak performance which set an Olympic record. Jesse’s race or colour couldn’t prevent him from winning the medals. So, Jesse’s success affirmed that only individual excellence distinguishes one man or woman from another, not race or national identity.
Again, Luz Long, who had been trained in the Nazi youth movement didn’t believe much in the Aryan-superiority business and found no problem at all to help out a fellow athlete or to make friend with him, even though he was a Negro. So, it is not only performance, but also individual beliefs, thoughts and virtues that set apart a man or woman from another.