EDDIE G. ALINEA - Remembering Jesse Owens
EDDIE G. ALINEA

Eighty-four years ago on May 25, American Olympic legend James “Jesse” Owens broke five world records and equaled a sixth in a span of, would you believe, 45 minutes.

Competing at the Big 10 championships at Ann Arbor, Michigan, the slender Owens, clad in the scarlet and gray uniform of his alma mater Ohio State University, assaulted the record books on a sunny afternoon of that day of year 1935 by sprinting and jumping his way to victories.

Here was how Owens did the trick:

At 3:15 p.m., Owens streaked to triumphantly in the 100-yard dash, equaling Frankn Wykof’s world standard 9.4 seconds.

At 3:25 p.m., Owens took his first and only long jump, clearing 26 feet, 81/4 inches to erase from the book by nearly a half-foot the world mark 26-1/4 held by Japan’s Chuhei Namhu.

At 3: 34 p.m., he flashed home an easy win in the 220-dash with 20.3 clocking, slashing three-tenth of a second Roland Locke’s world mark.

And at 4 p.m., Owens cut over the 220 low hurdles in 22.6, shaving four-tenths of a second from Charles R. Brookins’ 11-year-old world record.

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Owens’ 220 sprint and 220 low hurdles efforts, encompassed, too, the officially recognized world marks of the 200-meter distance for both events.

Jesse was then only in his sophomore year of what turned later a colorful and successful athletics career highlighted by his dominance of his favorite events one year later in the Berlin Olympic Games.

And to think that during the pre-Olympic Games warm up, Owens confessed he couldn’t even jog because of a stiff back from a stair fall at a fraternity house two weeks before, which prompted his Ohio State coach Larry Snyder to suggest for him to scratch on account of of sudden strain in the jolting start of the 100.

By the time the long jump got underway, after a 10-minute rest, Jesse went to the jumping pit with Snyder’s instructions to make only one attempt and rest for the 220 dash and low hurdles.

He skipped the practice jump and instead put handkerchief aside the pit at the world distance mark of Nambu. “I tried a couple of runs in stride then barreled down the runway for keeps, “ Owens recalled later. “I took off perfectly and thought I’d never come down. When I leveled off in the pit, I saw that handkerchief behind me and I knew I had a world record when Larry grinned at me.”

Here’s one for our lawmakers and sports leaders to ponder: The California State Senate passed a bill that could eventually lead to collegiate athletes in the state being compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness.

Steve Berkowitz of USA Today Sports shared this breaking news, noting the vote was 31-4 in favor of the bill, and that it will now move to the state assembly.

The bill would apply to all athletes enrolled at public and private colleges in California, It also would allow college athletes to hire sports agents.

California State Senate passes bill that would allow college athletes in the state to earn compensation for the use of their own name, image or likeness, beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The vote was 31-4. The bill now moves to the state assembly.

He also shared that Senator Nancy Skinner was the person who introduced the bill, and that she acknowledged during the debate that colleges in the state could “suffer consequences” if this bill ends up passed. She also said “California would hopefully not be acting alone” by the time the bill would go into effect (Jan. 1 of 2023).

College athletes, of course, are currently not allowed any compensation whatsoever. Many student-athletes have been dealt harsh suspensions for receiving even small amounts of compensation for signing autographs and other activities along those lines.

Even if the bill is passed by the state assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom signs it into law, we’re betting the NCAA will have something to say about it when it’s all said and done.

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