Inspired by the triumph of an American sports and cultural hero, adidas celebrates Jesse Owens with its Black History Month footwear collection.
The facts are simple, Jesse Owens was the most famous track and field athlete of all time, and in 1950 when the Associated Press conducted a poll to determine the greatest track and field athlete of the first half of the twentieth century, the results didn’t even come close – Owens by a landslide.
Raised in Ohio with Alabama roots, it was in the span of 45 minutes on one single afternoon on May 25, 1935, at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan that Owens electrified the sports world with the greatest one-man, one-day performance the sport had ever known – breaking three world records and tying a fourth.
One year later, at the 1936 Berlin summer games, Owens became a groundbreaking athlete and symbol for social justice and equality after a historic performance where he became the first American track & field athlete to win four gold medals in a single games, all while under tremendous global tension.
Owens accomplished the feat in track spikes hand-crafted by adidas founder Adi Dassler, who carried the glove leather spikes from his workshop in Herzogenaurach, a Bavarian village just 300 miles to the South. Owens’ athletic performance, wearing the spikes of adidas, marked one of the most significant sports and cultural moments of the 20th century.
“The Owens family is pleased to partner with adidas for Black History Month with a commemorative basketball shoe. On the feet of athletes who compete in the spirit of Jesse’s historic accomplishments, these shoes encompass the significance of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.”
Concurrently, the Focus Features Jesse Owens biopic “Race” will hit theaters on February 19.