No Racing Horses For Bolt And Lebron

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

“People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals.” – Jesse Owens

When Adolf Hitler declared that the white race should be supreme in the 1936 Olympic Games, it was feared that the German dictator would ignore the World’s Fastest Human, Jesse Owens, if the American sprinter won his specialty.

Owens did win and Hitler did shake his hand.

After that, when Owens returned to the United States, there were no sponsors waving dollar bills at him.

At this year’s London Olympics, companies lined up to offer wads of money and long-term contracts to our stars.

How did Owens cope? Well, believe it or not, but he was reduced to trying to out-run Thoroughbred racehorses – on racetracks!

Bolt Strong Enough

Usain Bolt, the fastest human, can name his price. It was reported that one company offered Bolt a long-term endorsement contract worth  $250,000 a year.

When I saw Bolt run and LeBron James burst toward a rebound, I wondered if both of them are in the wrong sport. Bolt is put together to withstand the violent hits in the NFL.

How do you think both would do as football ends (pass receivers)? Certainly no one in professional basketball could keep up with Bolt. Even NFL defensive backs wouldn’t try all that hard to get in LeBron’s route. Actually he played end in high school, but was smart enough to stick with basketball when he joined the NBA out of high school.

Real Tears

Were those really tears on the faces of LeBron and Kobe Bryant when the Gold Medals was placed around their necks? Yes, they were – and they were genuine.

The scene reminded me one more time of what Ralph Beard said about his Gold Medal, won by UK’s Fabulous Five in 1948, also in London.

“It’s for our country,” which is exactly what LeBron and Kobe said.

  • Good article.

    The story was always that Hitler snubbed him, which wasn’t true. He probably hated him, but he did meet him- which FDR didn’t do. “Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.”

    There were definitely no big endorsement deals back then. Back in 1948 when London last held the games, most of the British athletes had jobs centered around physically rebuilding their country after it had been hammered by the Nazis during the war. A guy who won a bronze in rowing got a medal without a ribbon, got drunk with his friends that night, then went back to bricklaying the next day.