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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

1936 Berlin Olympics - Long Jump

This is one of those famous/infamous photos from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.

That's American Jesse Owens in the middle during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after winning the Long Jump competition, thereby further embarrassing Adolph Hitler's White supremacy plans for his so called Aryan super race of Teutonic Germany.

In second-place performing the Nazi salute is German jumper Carl Ludwig "Luz" Long. Long was actually a good sport, and a good German, rather than a supreme Nazi.

Long had qualified for another round with a +-25-foot jump, and Owens needed a jump of more than 23 feet to qualify.

Long went over to Owens and introduced himself and advised him to draw a lie a few inches from the backboard and aim for it.

Owens jumped 25 feet-10 inches (7.87 meters) to qualify for the next round. Long went over and patted Owens on the back as Owens thanked him for the advice and well wishes.

Later during the elimination round, Long jumped 25-10-inches (7.87 meters) to tie Owens record. But on Owens next jump, he leaped 26-feet.

When Long fouled out on his next jump, Owens took his final leap (he had already won), and jumped 26 feet 5-1/2 inches (8.06 meters).

Like I said, Long was a good sport, and went over to Owens, grabbed his hand, and raised it in the air to celebrate Owens' victory.

Hitler did not invite Owens to his box for congratulations, but did state that Long was a great jumper and did Germany proud.

Owens had already won the Gold in the 100-meter race, and four days after the Long Jump win, won gold in the 200-meter race, taking home three Gold medals in three events. And then he won his fourth in the 4x100-meter relay.

Owens had shattered Hitler's point that Blacks were an inferior race with an epic performance in Hitler's backyard.

To be fair, U.S. presidents FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Harry Truman also failed to honor Owens. It wasn't President Dwight Eisenhower that Owens was officially honored, and again until 1976 that President Gerald Ford presented Owens with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

This is the non-cropped photo of the Long Jump podium - a photo taken by Heinrich Hoffmann, who was part of Hitler's inner circle and was sentenced to four years in prison following WWII, for war profiteering. Look him up... it's an interesting biography.
And nobody noticed who came third in the Long Jump at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. That would be Japanese jumper Tajima Naoto (surname first), who leaped 7.74 meters (25.4 feet).

Tajima (田島 直人) - August 15, 1912 – December 4, 1990 - was born in Iwakuni, Osaka-ken - and competed in the 1932 (Los Angeles, USA) Olympics and 1936 Berlin Olympics. He came in 6th in the Long-Jump in 1932, and as stated in 3rd in 1936.

But Tajima was also in the Triple Jump event, and won the 1936 Gold while setting a world record with a jump of 16.0 meters (52.5 feet).

And believe it or not, that gold medal earned by Tajima in 1936 was the last gold medal won by Japan in the Summer Olympic Games until 2000AD when Takahashi Naoko (surname first) won the women's marathon race.

I should mention, however, that proceeding Tajima at the Olympic Games in 1932 and in 1928, Japan also won the Gold Medal in the Triple Jump event, by Nambu Chūhei (surname first) in 1932, Oda Mikio in 1928. Oda, by the way, was Japan's first ever Olympic Gold medalist!

Man... the things you can learn. When I saw the photo, I thought it was the podium for the 100 meters... but then I thought, no... Owens got gold, fellow American Ralph Metcalfe earned silver, and Tinus Osendarp took the bronze. I knew that German runner Erich Borchmeyer came in fifth, so there was no way that was him on the podium doing the Nazi salute.

Then I had to figure out what event's winners were being depicted in the photo. I didn't even know that Owens was a long jumper.

Anyhow... February is Black History Month... but hopefully you also learned about some cool Japanese athletes, and that not all Germans were Nazis.

Andrew Joseph

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