1936 Olympics - Berlin

At the Big Ten Track and Field Championships of 1935, Ohio State's Jesse Owens equaled or set world records in four events: the 100 and 220-yard dashes, 200-yard low hurdles and the long jump. He was also credited with world marks in the 200-meter run and 200-meter hurdles. That's six world records in one afternoon, and he did it all in 45 minutes!

The following year, he swept the 100 and 200 meters and long jump at the Olympic Trials and headed for Germany favored to win all three.

In Berlin, dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers felt sure that the Olympics would be the ideal venue to demonstrate Germany's oft-stated racial superiority. He directed that $25 million be spent on the finest facilities, the cleanest streets and the temporary withdrawal of all outward signs of the state-run anti-Jewish campaign. By the time over 4,000 athletes from 49 countries arrived for the Games, the stage was set.

Then Owens, a black sharecropper's son from Alabama, stole the show–winning his three individual events and adding a fourth gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay. The fact that four other American blacks also won did little to please Herr Hitler, but the applause from the German crowds, especially for Owens, was thunderous. As it was for New Zealander Jack Lovelock's thrilling win over Glenn Cunningham and defending champ Luigi Beccali in the 1,500 meters.

Germany won only five combined gold medals in men's and women's track and field, but saved face for the “master race” in the overall medal count with an 89-56 margin over the United States.

The top female performers in Berlin were 17-year-old Dutch swimmer Rie Mastenbroek, who won three gold medals, and 18-year-old American runner Helen Stephens, who captured the 100 meters and anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay team.

Basketball also made its debut as a medal sport and was played outdoors. The U.S. men easily won the first gold medal championship game with a 19-8 victory over Canada in the rain.


Event   Time  
 100m Jesse Owens, USA 10.3  
  Ralph Metcalfe, USA 10.4  
  Martinus Osendarp, NED 10.5  
 200m Jesse Owens, USA 20.7 OR
  Matthew Robinson, USA 21.1  
  Martinus Osendarp, NED 21.3  
 400m Archie Williams, USA 46.5  
  Godfrey Brown, GBR 46.7  
  James LuValle, USA 46.8  
 800m John Woodruff, USA 1:52.9  
  Mario Lanzi, ITA 1:53.3  
  Philip Edwards, CAN 1:53.6  
1500m Jack Lovelock, NZE 3:47.8 WR
  Glenn Cunningham, USA 3:48.4  
  Luigi Beccali, ITA 3:49.2  
5000m Gunnar Höckert, FIN 14:22.2 OR
  Lauri Lehtinen, FIN 14:25.8  
  Henry Jonsson, SWE 14:29.0  
10,000m Ilmari Salminen, FIN 30:15.4  
  Arvo Askola, FIN 30:15.6  
  Volmari Iso-Hollo, FIN 30:20.2  
Marathon Sohn Kee-chung, JPN 2:29:19.2 OR
  Ernest Harper, GBR 2:31:23.2  
  Shoryu Nan, JPN 2:31:42.0  
110m H Forrest Towns, USA 14.2  
  Donald Finlay, GBR 14.4  
  Frederick Pollard, USA 14.4  
400m H Glenn Hardin, USA 52.4  
  John Loaring, CAN 52.7  
  Miguel White, PHI 52.8  
Volmari Iso-Hollo, FIN 9:03.8 WR
  Kaarlo Tuominen, FIN 9:06.8  
  Alfred Dompert, GER 9:07.2  
50k walk Harold Whitlock, GBR 4:30:41.4 OR
  Arthur Schwab, SWI 4:32:09.2  
  Adalbert Bubenko, LAT 4:32:42.2  
Note: Marathon winner Sohn was a Korean, but was forced to run for Japan, which occupied his country.
Event   Time  
4x100m USA (Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe,
Foy Draper, Frank Wykoff)
39.8 WR
  Italy 41.1  
  Germany 41.2  
4x400m GBR (Frederick Wolff, Godfrey
Rampling, William Roberts,
A.G. Brown)
  United States 3:11.0  
  Germany 3:11.8  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Cornelius Johnson, USA 6- 8 OR
  David Albritton, USA 6-63/4  
  Delos Thurber, USA 6-63/4  
Pole Vault Earle Meadows, USA 14- 31/4 OR
  Shuhei Nishida, JPN 14-0  
  Sueo Oe, JPN 13-111/4  
Long Jump Jesse Owens, USA 26- 51/2 OR
  Luz Long, GER 25-93/4  
  Naoto Tajima, JPN 25-41/2  
Triple Jump Naoto Tajima, JPN 52- 6 WR
  Masao Harad, JPN 51-41/2  
  John P.Metcalfe, AUS 50-10  
Shot Put Hans Woellke, GER 53- 13/4 OR
  Sulo Bärlund, FIN 52-101/2  
  Gerhard Stöck, GER 51-41/2  
Discus Ken Carpenter, USA 165- 7 OR
  Gordon Dunn, USA 161-11  
  Giorgio Oberweger, ITA 161-6  
Hammer Karl Hein, GER 185- 4 OR
  Erwin Blask, GER 180-61/2  
  Fred Warngard, SWE 179-101/2  
Javelin Gerhard Stöck, GER 235- 8  
  Yrjö Nikkanen, FIN 232-2  
  Kalervo Toivonen, FIN 232-0  
Decathlon Glenn Morris, USA 7900 pts WR
  Robert Clark, USA 7601  
  Jack Parker, USA 7275  


Event   Time
100m Helen Stephens, USA 11.5w
  Stanislawa Walasiewicz, POL 11.7
  Käthe Kraub, GER 11.9
80m H Trebisonda Valla, ITA 11.7 
  Ann Steuer, GER 11.7
  Elizabeth Taylor, CAN 11.7
4x100m USA (Harriet Bland, Annette Rogers,
Betty Robinson, Helen Stephens)
  Great Britain 47.6
  Canada 47.8
Event   Mark  
High Jump Ibolya Csák, HUN 5- 3  
  Dorothy Odam, GBR 5-3  
  Elfriede Kaun, GER 5-3  
Discus Gisela Mauermayer, GER 156- 3 OR
  Jadwiga Wajswna, POL 151-71/2  
  Paula Mollenhauer, GER 130-61/2  
Javelin Tilly Fleischer, GER 148- 3 OR
  Luise Krüger, GER 142-0  
  Maria Kwasniewska, POL 137-11/2