November 30, 2016

Jesse Owens Quotes

“After I came home from the 1936 Olympics with my four medals, it became increasingly apparent that everyone was going to slap me on the back, want to shake my hand or have me up to their suite. But no one was going to offer me a job.”

“Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.”

“For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world.”

“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”

“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”

“I decided I wasn’t going to come down. I was going to fly. I was going to stay up in the air forever.”

“I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.”

“I realized now that militancy in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn’t a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.”

“I wanted no part of politics. And I wasn’t in Berlin to compete against any one athlete. The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best. As I’d learned long ago… the only victory that counts is the one over yourself.”

“If you don’t try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody’s back yard. The thrill of competing carries with it the thrill of a gold medal. One wants to win to prove himself the best.”

“It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it’s close.”

“It dawned on me with blinding brightness. I realized: I had jumped into another rare kind of stratosphere — one that only a handful of people in every generation are lucky enough to know.”

“Joe Louis and I were the first modern national sports figures who were black… But neither of us could do national advertising because the South wouldn’t buy it. That was the social stigma we lived under.”

“Life doesn’t give you all the practice races you need.”

“People come out to see you perform and you’ve got to give them the best you have within you. The lives of most men are patchwork quilts. Or at best one matching outfit with a closet and laundry bag full of incongruous accumulations. A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.”

“People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals. There was no television, no big advertising, no endorsements then. Not for a black man, anyway.”

“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself — the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us — that’s where it’s at.”

“The black fist is a meaningless symbol. When you open it, you have nothing but fingers — weak, empty fingers. The only time the black fist has significance is when there’s money inside. There’s where the power lies.”

“The only bond worth anything between human beings is their humanness.”

“To me, we must learn to spell the word RESPECT. We must respect the rights and properties of our fellowman. And then learn to play the game of life, as well as the game of athletics, according to the rules of society. If you can take that and put it into practice in the community in which you live, then, to me you have won the greatest championship.”

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

“We used to have a lot of fun. We never had any problems. We always ate. The fact that we didn’t have steak? Who had steak?”

“When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.”