AP WAS THERE: The 1936 Berlin Olympics
By The Associated Press
EDITOR’S NOTE — With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was transmitted from the 1936 Berlin Olympics on the day of the 200-meter dash. Jesse Owens won his third gold medal by beating Matthew (Mack) Robinson. Note the language to describe Owens and other Black athletes. The story by AP Sports Writer Alan Gould is reprinted here as it ran in The Los Angeles Times on Aug. 6, 1936, using the contemporary style.
BERLIN, Aug. 5 — Incomparable Jesse Owens, whose blazing bursts of speed and jumping ability have thrilled nearly half a million spectators on four successive days, completed his classic Olympic triple title conquest in record-smashing style in the rain today.
Approximately 75,000 spectators, the smallest crowd yet occupying the huge stadium any afternoon, made up in cheers what it lacked in numbers as the dynamic American Negro added the 200-meter title to his previous triumphs in the 100-meter sprint and the broad jump.
Pursued by his dusky Pasadena (Cal.) team-mate, Matthew (Mack) Robinson, who finished second, the Ohio State all-around star ended an unbeaten campaign by lowering the world as well as Olympic mark around one turn to 20.7s.
Owens, in contributing the fifth American Negro triumph in these Games, featured another big day in which the United States team soared well over the 100 mark in the team point standing, leaving all rivals far behind.
In addition to the 200-meter final, Americans finished one-two in the discus throw with big Ken Carpenter of Compton, Cal., beating his California rival, Gordon (Slinger) Dunn, by hurling the platter 50.48 meters for a new Olympic record.
Another gold medal was added to the steadily growing American collection by Earle Meadows of Fort Worth, Tex. The Southern California Trojan soared to the Olympic mark-smashing height of 4.35 meters, eclipsing the old record made by Bill Miller at Los Angeles four years ago.
The day’s competition saw Great Britain retain the 50-kilometer walk championship as Harold Whitlock clipped nearly twenty minutes from the record, winning in 4h 30m. 41.4 s, and Uncle Sam’s 110-meter hurdling trio and 1500-meter triumvirate qualify in stirring trials marks by the elimination of Stanley Wooderson, Great Britain’s “metric mile hope.”
Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler was driven from his official box by a heavy downpour of rain just after Owens flashed across the finish line for his third triumph and wasn’t among the thousands who remained and thundered acclaim when the Negro stepped up for the third time to be crowned with a laurel wreath and given his third gold medal and oak tree that will be planted on Ohio State’s campus.
Surmounting dismal weather conditions throughout his four-day stretch, Owens set two new Olympic records, equaled a third besides adding his name twice to the world record list by equaling the 10-meter mark of 10.3s in addition to his 200-meter mark this afternoon.
Owens thus became the fourth American to capture three or more championships in one Olympiad and the first athlete to achieve the triple since peerless Paavo Nurmi ran them all dizzy in 1924 at Paris.
The Negro joined the company of Arthur Kraenzlein, who won four events in 1900, Ray Ewry, who swept three standing jumps twice in 1900 and 1904, and Archie Hahn, triple sprint winner in 1904.
The day’s only reversals for the Americans, not unexpected, came in the women’s 110-meter hurdles and the Marathon walk in which new Olympic marks were set in both events.
The trio of American girls reached the semifinals in the timber-topping feature but Anne Vrana O’Brien of Huntington Beach, Cal., was shut out in the first heat by Italy’s Trebisonda Valla in 11.6s, equaling the world mark as well as clipping one-tenth of a second from the Olympic standard.
Tidye Pickett, Chicago Negro girl, fell at the second hurdle and hurt her foot severely, while Simone Schaller of Monrovia, Cal., was eliminated on a photographic recount, the judges reversing themselves and yielding the third qualifying place to Claudia Testoni of Italy.
European walkers, led by Britain’s Whitlock, outclassed the American pedalers. Albert Mangan of Lowell, Mass., finished twenty-first; George Crosbie of Baltimore, twenty-third, and Ernest Koehler of New York, twenty-sixth in the 30.050-mile test over roads circling Grunewald Forest within the city limits.
Capitalizing on ideal conditions, fourteen of the thirty-three starters bettered the former Olympic record of 4h. 50m., 10s., set by Tom Green four years ago, Whitlock clipping nearly twenty minutes from his countryman’s mark. Arthur-Tell Schwab of Switzerland trailed Whitlock into the stadium, finishing 300 meters behind.
None of the Americans was under five minutes.
Source: The Los Angeles Times on Aug. 6, 1936. Retrieved by AP researcher Francesca Pitaro.