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Medal from 1936 Olympics for sale

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

Jesse Owens competes in one of the heats of the 200-meter run at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin

Jesse Owens competes in one of the heats of the 200-meter run at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin

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One of the four Olympic gold medals won by black athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games is up for sale in an online auction.

The medal recalls both the Nazi racial propaganda myths that Owens smashed with his world record-setting 100-yard dash, and the segregation that dictated life in the USA.

Owens won gold in the 100 and 200 metres, the 400 metre relay and the long jump.

But when he returned from the Games, he struggled to provide for his family. His daughter Marlene Owens Rankin, 74, said: "When he came back, the US was just as it was when he left: segregated. Even though he came back an Olympic hero, he wasn't offered opportunities that Olympic heroes of today are offered."

The medal comes from the estate of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's widow. The film star befriended Owens on his return to the States – Owens gave him the medal as a token of friendship.

The location of Owens' other three gold medals is unknown. The auction began on November 20 and closes on Saturday. By Monday night it had received 15 bids, with the highest at nearly 209,000 dollars (£128,200).

"We expect a lot of bidding activity on the final day, which is typical," said Dan Imler, of SCP Auctions.

Ms Owens Rank added: "We just hope that it's purchased by an institution where the public could have access to it, like a museum or something like that."

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