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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Race (2016)

The story of Jesse Owens' rise to international fame, and the little good that it did him, is chronicled here for all to see.  It is ironic that a movie that is likely meant to look dated in its attitudes towards racial prejudice actually doesn't seem at all out of step with the current times.
Owens decided to go to Ohio State University for college because of the reputation of the track and field coach there.  Ohio was not quite the deep South, but it certainly wasn't desegregated either, and Owens faced discrimination in his own locker room in addition to  on and off the field.  His coach was not that way.  He was the shining star of the whole story (besides Owens himself of course), the one who did everything that he could for Owens and gave him his due.
The very ugly sub story that I did not know about involved Avery Brundage and the US Olympic committee being complicit in excluding US Jewish sprinters from the games.  The action contributed to Owen's 4th gold medal but was an ugly stain on the IOC.  Maybe no surprise there.  Brundage was involved with the Olympics for decades to come, and the taint has certainly continued to stain the organization over the 80 years since the Berlin games.  Owens story ends sadly, which is entirely foreseeable but no less unfortunate.  Well done telling of the story, which sticks largely to the facts.

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