75 years ago Jesse Owens became the first athlete to win his fourth olympic gold medal. You might think: the Jesse Owens’ story has been told a hundred times. Read on and you will get some insights you don’t want to miss; insights about Jesse Owens – the unassuming black runner from Ohio who came to Berlin, saw and conquered.Owens won the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump and the 4×100 meter relay. We can watch the grainy newsreels today and still perceive the classic cleanliness of his sprinting, the élan of his jumping, his superiority over his rivals, his composure and his sportsmanship. Jesse Owens was an exceptional athlete, not just then, in 1936, but forever. Adi Dassler wanted his shoes to be worn by as many athletes as possible in Berlin
The sprint shoes Adi Dassler made for Jesse Owens don't have much in common with today's adizero Prime (weighing only 99 grams it's the lightest commercial sprint shoe) but where state of the art back then, too. Somehow (there are several versions to describe how, none of which is authenticated), Adi Dassler got Jesse Owens to wear Dassler shoes, crafted by Adi’s own hands. Under the hateful prevailing political circumstances, there was clearly a certain risk involved in giving German products to an African-American, a man likely to run faster than Germans on their own ground and whose skin colour was the target of vile propaganda. Adi Dassler wanted his shoes to be worn by as many athletes as possible in Berlin, without distinction, but he had no marketing or promotional apparatus even to make them aware of the virtues of his products. It had to be done by word of mouth, friendly contacts and personal persuasion.