Who Broke Jesse Owens Record – 100 Meter Dash

Who Broke Jesse Owens Record

Any follower of the Olympics has most certainly heard of the renowned athlete Jesse Owens who won five gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games.

While Jesse Owens managed to keep this record for over 80 years, a fellow African American runner and Ohio State citizen recently broke Owens’ record.

In this article, we explore the athlete that made such history and more about the legend that is Jesse Owens.

Ready? Set? Go!

Who Broke Jesse Owens Record?

In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens, who was representing Ohio state, competed in the long jump event, the low hurdles, and every yard dash (100m, 200m, and 220m).

Owens made a name for himself as a black athlete for being among the few that earned five gold medals in the span of only 45 minutes—all in a single Olympic game!

Below, we go in-depth about Owens, plus, the infamous Nick Gray who beat the former’s sprinting record.

Who Is Jesse Owens?

Fun fact: Jesse Owens had been injured five days prior to the Big Ten Championship. During his stay at Ohio State University dorms, he fell down the stairs and hurt his lower back badly.

Naturally, this would have discouraged anyone from competing in such a major event a few days later. Yet against all odds, Owens was able to set one world record after another.

In the yard dash events, for instance, Owens really shone. Despite the fact that he had a slow start, he managed to cross the finish line in 10.3 seconds.

In the 200m race after, he broke another record of 20.7 seconds. Another Jesse Owens record was made in the 220-track field (20.3 seconds), marking him a famous sprinter.

Who Is Nick Gray?

breaking records

An athlete from the Ohio State and a biology major, Nick Gray managed to break Jesse Owens’ record of 10.3 seconds.

In April 2019, Nick Gray had already spent months training for the 100-meter run held by the University of South Carolina.

Coincidentally, Gray, too, spent his college years at Owens’ alma mater, the Ohio State University.

Perhaps that fact helped inspire and push Gray to beat his predecessor’s record! In 10.17 seconds, Nick Gray had made history by beating a world record that had stood the test of time for ages.

Thinking about how many other athletes have taken a shot at trying to beat Owens’ record, it’s heart-warming to learn that Nick himself was surprised at his achievement.

What World Records Did Jesse Owens Set?

Due to the back injury that Owens suffered before the Berlin games, his schedule had to be readjusted by his Ohio state coach, Larry Synder.

Synder had complied with Owens’ wish to compete, on the condition that field medics will continue to assess the state of the athlete’s body after each event.

In other words, Jesse Owens had little time between every competition and the other to prepare.

It’s a miracle that he ended up being the first American track and field runner to win five gold medals in one Olympic game.

The Long Jump Record

After holding the world record for the fastest sprint, Owens decided to attempt the long jump.

He faced a few setbacks though. For instance, he mistook his first attempt for a practice jump.

With the help of his friend and German long jumper, Carl Long, Owens was able to set a world record that wouldn’t be beaten for another 30 years.

Owens managed to hit an incredible 8.13 meters jump, despite his injury.

Not only was Owens the first to hit eight meters, but he beat his own record by a solid 13cm too.

The Low Hurdle Record

Who Broke Jesse Owens Record:low hurdle jump

No track and field athlete has been an all-in-three: a sprinter, jumper, and hurdler. Jesse Owens, on the other hand, was among the very first and few to be as such.

It had been shocking back then, to see Owens get ready to compete in another challenging event and disregard his pain once more.

With a one-second difference, Owens beat the previous record of 23 seconds.

Additionally, Jesse Owens was ahead of the second-place athlete by five meters, thus breaking another world record.

In three-quarters of an hour, Owens proved that nothing is impossible, even with a bad back. 

Have Jesse Owens’ Other Records Been Broken?

The Western Big Ten Championship was held in Ann Arbor, namely at the University of Michigan. On the 25th of May, 1935, Owens set more than one world record.

The athlete went on to prove himself again, a year later, in the 1936 Olympic Games by earning multiple gold medals. We wonder, though, do any of Owens’ historic records still stand?

Carl Lewis

One of the many black athletes whom Owens had inspired was the renowned Carl Lewis.

The latter actually got the chance to meet with Owens and hear from his lips how hard he worked to get to where he was.

The World War II enthusiast, Carl Lewis, got the chance to learn about the discrimination that Owens had faced and that pushed him to give it his all despite his injury.

By 1981, Lewis was only a few inches away from beating Owens’ long jump record.

Instead, Carl Lewis was able to match his predecessor’s feat in the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.

Lewis earned four gold medals and now works as a track and field coach for elite sprinters at the University of Houston.

Ralph Boston

Another African American athlete who managed to break one of Owens’ long-held records was Ralph Boston. Now retired, Boston is known for beating Owens’ long jump in the 1960 Olympic Games.

25 years after Owens had made history, Boston was able to surpass him, setting the record at 8.21 meters. As a result, he earned the gold medal in the Summer Olympics held in Rome.

Ralph Boston’s record was later beat by another black athlete, namely Bob Beamon. In the 1968 Olympics, Beamon managed a breath-taking 8.90m jump.

This legendary leap remained the world record for a solid 50 years.

How Did Jesse Owens Change the World?

running in position

Three years before World War II began, Adolf Hitler decided to host the Berlin Olympic Games—which later proved to be a stunt on his part to showcase to the world his concept of Aryan Supremacy.

In other words, Jesse Owens was competing against more than just other athletes.

His life had been a series of discrimination and racism, much of which black athletes no longer face today.

Owens ran, not only for himself but for every African American that would later be inspired by his story.

By winning four gold medals, Owens proved that no race was superior. In fact, German fans and fellow athletes were encouraging Owens to finish despite the odds being against him.

Simply put, Owens walked so that other black athletes could run.

Usain Bolt, for starters, would set another record, also in Berlin, later on. In the 2009 IAAF event, he ran 100 meters in a swift 9.8 seconds!

Final Words On Who Broke Jesse Owens Record

Jesse Owens has certainly earned his place among the many inspiring Olympic athletes we love and admire today.

By setting world records that stood for decades, he made the United States proud.

Every Jesse Owens’ record has only been recently beaten, proving that young athletes nowadays are showing much promise!