1936

The Jesse Owens Games

Held in Berlin on the eve of World War II, the 1936 Games were the first to be marked by political controversy. Some Jewish athletes boycotted the Games rather than participate in Nazi Germany; others were "discouraged" by their governments, which didn't want to offend Adolf Hitler. In days of high drama, the son of an American slave -- Jesse Owens -- destroyed Hitler's myth of Aryan superiority by winning four gold medals in track and field. Because of World War II, Owens would never go to the Games again, but he remains a symbol of the Olympic spirit for his courage and ability.