Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Jesse Owens’ Olympic accomplishments are set to be honored Spring Semester at Ohio State, where he used to attend school before reaching international fame.
Owens was a U.S. track and field legend who broke world records in 1936 by winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.
OSU plans to honor the athlete that inspired so many others with an exhibit titled, “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Jesse Owens: 100 Years of Life and Legacy.”
The exhibit is scheduled to run from Jan. 9 to May 5 at the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library Gallery and will feature Owens’ Olympic gold medals as well as his Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal – the two highest civilian awards presented in the United States. Other key attractions include the 1936 Olympic torch, a WOSU documentary and Owens’ diary.
However, Owens isn’t just remembered for his talent on the track.
Marlene Owens Rankin, daughter of Jesse Owens, stated in an email to The Lantern that she believes her father’s humility, sense of fair play, sportsmanship and humanitarianism are what makes him the legend that he has become.
“My sisters and I are often struck by how long our father has been remembered not only for his athletic accomplishments but for who he was as a person,” Rankin said. “Our hearts swell with pride to think that The Ohio State University honors him with this celebration of his life.”
University archivist Tamar Chute said the exhibit will highlight Owens’ lasting impact on Olympic athletes.
One athlete who has felt his influence is Amanda Furrer, a fourth-year in economics who placed 15th in the 50-meter three-position rifle in the 2012 Olympics.
“Jesse Owens is a true American inspiration,” Furrer said. “No matter what sport you’re in, he can be inspiring to all of us and we can all look up to him.”
Furrer provided material for the exhibit by donating her official awards outfit, opening ceremonies outfit and Olympic competitor pin. Furrer said that while she was excited to be a part of the whole experience, she was shocked and honored that the university wished to place her Olympic gear next to that of Jesse Owens.
While Tamar said the exhibit cost $2,000 to $2,500 to put together, there is no entry fee for visitors.