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Profile of the Day: Jesse Owens

On this day in 1913, Olympic champion Jesse Owens was born in Oakville, Alabama.

Image: Jesse Owens / Library of Congress

The youngest of ten children, James Cleveland Owens was known as J.C. until the age of nine when his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in search for better work opportunities. When his new teacher asked for his name, he said “J.C.” in a heavy southern accent. The teacher misheard and thought he said “Jesse.” The name stuck and he was known as Jesse for the rest of his life.

A gifted athlete, Owens was nicknamed the “Buckeye Bullet” in college and set three world records. He made history in 1936 when he traveled to Berlin, Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympic games. A dominant force during the games, Owens won four Olympic gold medals. To this day, he is remembered as one of the greatest athletes in history.

Explore Jesse Owens’s family tree and share how you’re connected to the Olympic athlete.

View Jesse Owens’s Geni Profile

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