Jesse Owens was born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville, Alabama. His family moved to Cleveland Ohio at the age of 9 . He started running in Junior High School. Owens was the African-American athlete who electrified the Berlin Olympics of 1936, became a hero for generations of Americans. His victories in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and the broad jump, along with his contribution to the gold-medal winning performance of the US team in the 400 meter relay, confirmed Owens' stature as one of the all-time greats in track and field.
In Owens' sophomore year at Ohio State, he broke five world records and tied a sixth, all within the same hour of competition. In 1976, Owens was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom