SPORT
28/06/2012 07:04 BST | Updated 28/06/2012 07:11 BST

London 2012 Countdown: Jesse Owens Defies Nazi Ideology To Take Gold At The 1936 Olympics (VIDEO)

Jesse Owens' 1936 Olympic medal haul at Berlin is one of the most courageous wins in not just the Games, but sport's history.

Under the watchful and racist eyes of Adolf Hitler, eager to showcase Nazi Germany's superiority to the world, African-American Owens reached the finishing line in 10.3 seconds of the 100 metres. He then took gold for the long jump and the 200 metres ahead of the 4x100m relay victory in just six magical days.

On the first day, Hitler shook hands only with the German victors before departing the Olympic Stadium. The Games' committee officials insisted he greet every medalist or none at all. He opted for the latter and did not attend another medal ceremony.

Albert Speer, Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production during World War II, revealed the Führer's disgust:

Each of the German victories, and there were a surprising number of these, made him happy, but he was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens. People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, Hitler said with a shrug; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future games.

The Nazis' propaganda preached of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. Owens proved otherwise by winning four gold medals.