Jesse Owens' 1936 Olympic gold medal goes up for auction

Bidding for Berlin Games medal has already topped $200,000.
By Evan Bleier   |  Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:43 AM
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Dec. 3 (UPI) -- One of the four gold medals that American Olympian Jesse Owens won at the Berlin Games in 1936 is up for auction and bidding has already topped $200,000.

Owens won the medal despite Adolf Hitler’s plan that the 1936 games would be a showcase of Aryan dominance.

Hitler was furious at Owens’ performance, but thousands of ordinary Germans cheered him on as he won the long jump, the 100- and 200-meter sprints and ran the opening leg for the winning 4x100-meter U.S. relay team.

It is anticipated that the medal may sell for as much as $1 million.

"It leaves one nearly speechless to behold this medal. It survives as one of the world's most poignant symbols of triumph," the vice president of SCP Auctions, Dan Imler, said in a statement.

The location of the other three medals is unknown. The medal at the auction house is being sold by the widow of Owens’ friend, the late entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Owens died in 1980 and Robinson passed away in 1949.

Despite his fame, Owens was at one point earning a living by racing against horses.

"People said it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do?" Owens said. "I had four gold medals, but you can't eat four gold medals."

The auction is set to close on Saturday.


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