First American to Win Four Track and Field Gold Medals Jesse Owens Had to Do a ‘Degrading’ Job to Earn Money

Published 06/21/2023, 11:31 AM EDT

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The American elite track and field athlete Jesse Owens gained much recognition from his first-ever Olympics. The 1936 Summer Olympics were held in Hitler’s province – Berlin, Germany. Adamant on promoting his ideology and the ‘Aryan race’ theory, Hitler treated the games like a political tool. Jesse Owens, however, was one of the athletes, who crushed the Fuhrer’s ideas. Owen won gold medals in the long jump, the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and the 4 x 100-meter relay.

On the night of his triumph, Hitler left the stadium and refused to shake hands with Owens. The staff maintained that the leader had a scheduled meeting. Even after such considerable accomplishments, the former athlete had to struggle to find work after his return from the Olympics.

What job did Jesse Owens do after the Olympics?


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Jesse Owens struggled to find ennoble or any jobs at all. Recently a tweet was shared by ‘African & Black History’ (a Twitter page giving updates and acknowledging black history) about Owens’s struggles after the Olympics.



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Many know Jesse Owens as the elite Olympic athlete that humiliated dominating dominated the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but did you know that after the Olympics, Owens had a hard time finding work?One way he earned money was by racing a horse at events. From stadium races to halftime shows, Jesse Owens raced to earn money. Almost as soon as he came back from the Olympics, he began races to earn money. Owens said it was degrading, but he couldn’t eat four gold medals. Once a symbol of freedom and American might, he was soon a slideshow at other events”.


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Owens had to do many demeaning jobs to earn money and keep his livelihood active. He worked as a playground janitor, raced against horses, and worked as a gas station attendant. Notably, he is an idol for former American President, Barack Obama, and the black community. To acknowledge his accomplishments, the Special Olympics recently had a celebration for Owens’ legacy.

Special Olympics celebrated ‘the legacy of Jesse Owens’

Special Olympics is an international organization that provides training services and competitions for intellectually disabled people. Timothy Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics initiated to celebrate the legacy of world legend Jesse Owens. The event took place in the same stadium which was built to host the 1936 Olympics.


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Read More: What Are the Rules for the Long Jump Event to Be Held at the Tokyo Olympics 2021?

Jesse Owens sealed his success in the 1936 Olympics, and he is idolized in every corner of the world. After his degrading jobs, Jesse became a bandleader and owned a basketball team. And in 1970 Owens was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall Of Fame.


Written by:

Sheikh Ayesha


One take at a time

Sheikh Ayesha is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. She is a sports enthusiast and has a penchant for covering American sporting events. Ayesha comes with a staunch experience in content writing and takes an avid interest in Alpine skiing and swimming.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra