Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics

Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Nevertheless, Hitler seized the opportunity to promote Nazi ideology, which included the notion that the so-called ‘black auxiliaries’ – in other words, the African-American athletes – on which the United States relied, in part, were ‘subhuman’.

In fact, African-American athletes did supremely well. Ralph Metcalfe, Archie Williams, John Woodruff and Cornelius Johnson won gold medals in the 4 x 100-metres relay, 400 metres, 800 metres and high jump, but it was James Cleveland ‘Jesse’ Owens who surpassed them all. Owens shared the podium with Metcalfe in the 4 x 100-metres relay, after the pair controversially replaced the only two Jewish athletes on the United States’ team, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, but had earlier won individual gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres and long jump.

Standing 5′ 10″ tall and weighing in at 11st 11lb, Owens won the 100 metres final in an Olympic-record time of 10.30 seconds, finishing just ahead of compatriot Metcalfe. The following day, having narrowly avoiding elimination in the qualifying stage, Owens won his second gold medal with a jump of 8.13 metres in the long jump final, thereby setting a world record that would not be beaten for 25 years. Another Olympic record, 20.70 seconds, followed in the 200 metres final, in which another African-American athlete. Matthew ‘Mack’ Robinson finished second. Owens’ selection for the 4 x 100-metres relay team may have been motivated by ant-semitism, as alleged by Glickman, but Owens, Metcalfe, Foy Draper and Frank Wykoff won gold in a world-record time of 39.80 seconds.

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Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay 1963

Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay 1963 The late Sir Henry Cooper, popularly known as ‘Our ‘Enry’, was one of the most celebrated and successful British boxers since World War II. Cooper turned professional, at the age of 20, in 1954 and went on to enjoy a highly successful professional career; he never won a world title, but was British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion between 1959 and 1971 and European heavyweight champion between 1968 and 1971.

However, for all his success, Cooper is probably best remembered for his narrow, and controversial, defeat by 21-year-old Cassius Clay – soon to become Muhammad Ali – in a non-title fight at Wembely Stadium, London in June, 1963, which very nearly changed the course of boxing. Before the fight, Clay had brashly predicted, ‘It ain’t no jive, Henry Cooper will go in five!’

Nevertheless, towards the end of the fourth round, Cooper, 28, unleashed a trademark left hook – dubbed ”Enry’s ‘Ammer’ – which knocked Clay to the canvas for a count of four. When the bell sounded, Clay was sitting on the seat of his pants, back against the ropes, and had to be walked back to his stool by trainer Angelo Dundee. Dundee administered smelling salts before, apparently, discovering a split in Clay’s glove, which he brought to the attention of the referee Tommy Little.

According to Cooper, Dundee subsequently freely admitted, more than once, that he had deliberately slashed the glove to give Clay more time to recover between rounds. A replacement pair of gloves were fetched from the dressing room and, in the fifth round, a rejuvenated Clay set to work on slicing up Cooper’s already bloodied face; a heavily bleeding cut over his left eye left Cooper unable to see properly and the contest was stopped, with Clay winning by technical knockout.

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